Background: The objective of this study was to assess the readability, suitability, and health content of cancer screening information in municipal newspapers in Japan.
Materials and methods: Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM) and the framework of Health Belief Model (HBM) were used for assessment of municipal newspapers that were published in central Tokyo (23 wards) from January to December 2013.
Results: The mean domain SAM scores of content, literacy demand, and layout/typography were considered superior. The SAM scores of interaction with readers, an indication of the models of desirable actions, and elaboration to enhance readers' self-efficacy were low. According to the HBM coding, messages of medical/clinical severity, of social severity, of social benefits, and of barriers of fear were scarce.
Conclusions: The articles were generally well written and suitable. However, learning stimulation/motivation was scarce and the HBM constructs were not fully addressed.
Practice implications: Articles can be improved to motivate readers to obtain cancer screening by increasing interaction with readers, introducing models of desirable actions and devices to raise readers' self-efficacy, and providing statements of perceived barriers of fear for pain and time constraints, perceived severity, and social benefits and losses.