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What are Cancer Centers Advertising to the Public? A Rapid Review of the Literature

Borgenheimer, Laura (2013) What are Cancer Centers Advertising to the Public? A Rapid Review of the Literature. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Facilities that provide cancer care are increasingly promoting their services directly to the public through advertisements. In the past few years, cancer center advertising has received criticism for making unsupported claims about survival, omitting risk information, and using emotional language. Although there is a large body of evidence regarding the content, impact, and regulation of pharmaceutical advertising, there is little known about that of cancer centers. This study aimed to assess the evidence regarding advertising by facilities that provide cancer care. The author conducted a rapid review of publications that analyzed the content of cancer center advertising published before February 15, 2013. Only two peer-reviewed studies were selected for inclusion from 353 publications identified by the review. Both were cross-sectional studies and reported the use of emotional appeal and patient testimonials as advertising strategies. While the number of studies found was too small and their methods and quality too variable to allow for any confident conclusions to be made, this study identified a considerable gap in the literature. Descriptive studies of the content of cancer center advertising are needed to move the debate forward and inform studies measuring the impact on the public. Understanding the messages conveyed through cancer center advertisements and their effect on the population are of high public health importance, as such messages have the potential to affect health costs, patient preferences and expectations about treatment, and the provider-patient relationship.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGuadamuz, Thomasteg10@pitt.eduTEG10
Committee MemberFelter, Elizabethemfelter@pitt.eduEMFELTER
Committee MemberSchenker, Yaelyas28@pitt.eduYAS28
Date: 27 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 April 2013
Approval Date: 27 June 2013
Submission Date: 9 April 2013
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 64
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: cancer center advertising health services advertising
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 19:05
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:11

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