Online cancer news: trends regarding article types, specific cancers, and the cancer continuum

Health Commun. 2014;29(1):41-50. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2012.715538. Epub 2013 Jan 28.


The Internet is one of the fastest growing news sources for many worldwide (Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2011), and cancer news is one frequently consumed form of online health information (Google, Inc., 2007). This content analysis of online cancer news (n = 862) retrieved from the four most frequented news websites describes trends regarding specific cancers, stages in the cancer continuum, and types of news articles. In general, treatment information received the most attention in online cancer news. Breast cancer received the most attention of each specific cancer, followed by digestive and genitourinary cancers. Research reports and profiles of people (more than 60% of which were about celebrities) were the most common article types. Risk, uncertainty, and clinical trials were also present across several types of cancer news articles. Implications of content trends are discussed as relevant to consumers, producers, health campaign designers, and researchers alike.

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics*
  • Communications Media / trends
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination* / methods
  • Internet / trends*
  • Neoplasms*