Skip to main content

Risk Messages about HPV, Cervical Cancer, and the HPV Vaccine Gardasil in North American News Magazines

Abstract

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil) is a significant advancement in reducing women’s risk for cervical cancer. Public opinion of the vaccine can be influenced by the mass media. We used content analysis to assess the discussion of risks, fear-inducing messages about HPV, cervical cancer, and the HPV vaccine in four high circulating North American news magazines from January 2006 to December 2007. Risk messages about HPV and cervical cancer focused on threatening illness or injury. Reporting on the HPV vaccine emphasized it being poorly understood by science. News magazine articles on the HPV vaccine and cervical cancer included fear-inducing messages. Cancer educators need to be aware of media reporting in order to alleviate fears that the public may experience about the HPV vaccine.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    World Health Organization (2008) Initiative for vaccine research. http://www.who.int/vaccine_research/diseases/viral_cancers/en/index3.html. Accessed 7 July 2008

  2. 2.

    Health Canada (2008) It's your health: human papillomavirus (HPV). http://www.hcsc.gc.ca/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/hpv-vph_e.html. Accessed 2 May 2008

  3. 3.

    National Advisory Committee on Immunization (2007) Statement on human papillomavirus vaccine. Canada Communicable Disease Report No. 33

  4. 4.

    Bennett P (1999) Understanding responses to risk: some basic findings. In: Bennett P, Calman K (eds) Risk communication and public health. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 3–19

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Kasperson RE, Renn O, Slovic P et al (1998) The social amplification of risk: a conceptual framework. Risk Anal 8:177–187

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Hoffman-Goetz L, MacDonald M (1999) Cancer coverage in mass-circulating Canadian women’s magazines. Can J Public Health 90:55–59

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Anhang R, Stryker JE, Wright TC Jr et al (2004) News media coverage of human papillomavirus. Cancer 100:308–314

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    McCree DH, Sharpe PA, Brandt HM et al (2006) Preferences for sources of information about abnormal Pap tests and HPV in women tested for HPV. Prev Med 43:165–170

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Audit Bureau of Circulations (2008). http://www.accessabc.com. Accessed 7 Jan 2008

  10. 10.

    Hsieh HF, Shannon SE (2005) Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qual Health Res 15:1277–1288

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    NVivo 7 (2007) Qualitative data analysis software; QSR International Pty Ltd. Version 7

  12. 12.

    Anhang R, Wright TC Jr, Smock L et al (2004) Women’s desired information about human papillomavirus. Cancer 100:315–320

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Ng E, Wilkins R, Fung MFK et al (2004) Cervical cancer mortality by neighbourhood income in urban Canada from 1971 to 1996. CMAJ 170:1545–1549

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    The State of the News Media 2007 (2008) Project for Excellence in Journalism. http://www.journalism.org/. Accessed 25 July 2008

  15. 15.

    Zimet GD, Mays RM, Fortenberry JD (2000) Vaccines against sexually transmitted infections: promise and problems of the magic bullets for prevention and control. Sex Transm Dis 27:49–52

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Butler-Jones D (2008) Canada's chief public health officer refutes Maclean's article on HPV vaccine. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/media/cpho-acsp/hpv-vaccine070817-eng.php. Accessed 15 July 2008

  17. 17.

    Zimet GD, Shew ML, Kahn JA (2008) Appropriate use of cervical cancer vaccine. Annu Rev Med 59:223–236

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Zimmerman RK (2006) Ethical analysis of HPV vaccine policy options. Vaccine 24:4812–4820

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Vetter KM, Geller SE (2007) Moving forward: human papillomavirus vaccination and the prevention of cervical cancer. J Women’s Health 16:1258–1268

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Laurie Hoffman-Goetz.

Additional information

Supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Abdelmutti, N., Hoffman-Goetz, L. Risk Messages about HPV, Cervical Cancer, and the HPV Vaccine Gardasil in North American News Magazines. J Canc Educ 25, 451–456 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13187-010-0087-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • HPV vaccine
  • Magazines
  • Risk communication
  • Fright factors