Journal of
Media and Communication Studies

  • Abbreviation: J. Media Commun. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2545
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMCS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 223

Full Length Research Paper

Spotlight on the news: A critical review of cancer disclosure

Marina Verjovsky* and Claudia Jurberg
Núcleo de Divulgação do Programa de Oncobiologia. Instituto de Bioquímica Médica, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and Instituto Oswaldo Cruz/Fiocruz. Av. Carlos Chagas Filho, 373, bloco H, sala H2003, CEP 21941-902. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 09 November 2012
  •  Published: 31 December 2012



The global occurrence of malignant neoplasms has more than doubled in recent years. In Brazil, neoplasms represent 17% of all known causes of death and are considered the second leading mortality cause. This growth rate is astonishing, but the World Health Organization states that 40% of these cases could be prevented. However, this requires the population to be well-informed of the correlation between risk factors and cancer. This paper is a literature review of articles on cancer disclosure in the Brazilian media, including 195 news from different newspapers, 177 radio reports, 170 issues of three important Brazilian magazines and 51 television news segments only. The results found in Brazil are compared with international studies, aiming to identify the characteristics of the media frame. We suggest that some important aspects of this disclosure in the Brazilian media could perpetuate the image of pain, death and suffering associated with cancer, as mentioned by 70% of respondents in a national survey. These aspects may hinder the diffusion of a prevention and early diagnosis policy, which is essential to decrease cancer incidence and death rates.


Key words: Media, cancer, scientific disclosure, health.