The Evolution of Mammography Controversy in the News Media: A Content Analysis of Four Publicized Screening Recommendations, 2009 to 2016

Rebekah H Nagler, Erika Franklin Fowler, Nora M. Marino, Kari Mc Clure Mentzer, Sarah E Gollust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: There is longstanding expert disagreement about the age at and frequency with which women should be screened for breast cancer. These debates are reflected in the conflicting recommendations about mammography issued by major professional organizations, such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society. Previous research has shown that these recommendations garner substantial media attention—and therefore might affect women's screening perceptions and behaviors—but to date analyses of such media coverage have focused on single publicized announcements. Methods: To assess whether media coverage of mammography screening recommendations has evolved, we conducted a content analysis of televised news from four discrete media events from 2009 to 2016, all of which focused on publicized screening recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and American Cancer Society (N = 364 stories). Results: Media coverage of mammography screening recommendations has featured persistent messages of conflict and/or controversy over time. The evolution of controversy was also reflected in shifts in the relative attention given to mammography screening's risks and benefits, with consistent and, in some cases, heightened attention to screening's risks during more recent media events. Overall, the accuracy of media coverage improved over time. Conclusions: Results underscore the continued prevalence of conflicting and/or controversial information about mammography screening in the public information environment. Cumulative exposure to such messages could influence women's decision making around screening and trust in cancer prevention recommendations. Strategies are needed to better equip all women (and particularly underserved women) to negotiate mammography controversy and weigh the benefits and risks of screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by a Research Scholar Grant (to S.E.G.), RSG-14-166-01-CPPB, from the American Cancer Society. Additional support was provided by a Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship from the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota (PI: S.E.G.) and Wesleyan University's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Grant (PI: E.F.F.). R.H.N. acknowledges support from the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health Grant (K12-HD055887) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, the Office of Research on Women's Health, and the National Institute on Aging, administered by the University of Minnesota Women's Health Research Program. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Funding Information:
Supported by a Research Scholar Grant (to S.E.G.), RSG-14-166-01-CPPB , from the American Cancer Society . Additional support was provided by a Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship from the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota (PI: S.E.G.) and Wesleyan University's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Grant (PI: E.F.F.). R.H.N. acknowledges support from the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Grant ( K12-HD055887 ) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, the Office of Research on Women's Health, and the National Institute on Aging, administered by the University of Minnesota Women's Health Research Program. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health

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