SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Appalachia;
  • cervical cancer;
  • content analysis;
  • health inequities;
  • human papillomavirus vaccine;
  • newspapers

Abstract

Objective  To describe the content of newspaper articles about cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine published in Appalachia and identify potential differences in coverage as compared to the content of newspaper articles published in non-Appalachia Ohio.

Background  Individuals rely on media as an important source of health information. Inadequate coverage of health issues may reinforce health inequities such as the elevated cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates in Appalachia Ohio.

Methods  A content analysis was conducted of all newspaper articles about cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine published in Appalachia and non-Appalachia Ohio during 2006.

Findings  A total of 121 published newspaper articles (42 in Appalachia and 79 in non-Appalachia) about cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine were identified. Articles published in Appalachia Ohio were significantly less likely than articles published in non-Appalachia Ohio to provide information about the threat of cervical cancer and the efficacy of the HPV vaccine. Specifically, few articles published in Appalachia included information about the ability of the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, the cost of the vaccine and the availability of assistance programmes for the un- and underinsured.

Conclusions  Newspaper articles printed in the Appalachia region lacked vital information that could help promote uptake of the HPV vaccine. Health educators and healthcare providers should be aware that women from underserved geographic regions like Appalachia may have greater information needs regarding their risk of cervical cancer and the potential benefits of the HPV vaccine as compared to the general patient population.