Open Journal of Urology, 2013, 3, 246-247
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/oju.2013.36045 Published Online October 2013 (http://www.scirp.org/journal/oju)
How Do Weekly Magazines Provide Information on
Urogenital Cancer to the Public in Aged Societies?
Masayoshi Nagata1*, Tomoko Matsumura2, Masahiro Kami2
1Department of Urology, National Center of Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
2Division of Social Communication System for Advanced Clinical Research,
The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Received September 2, 2013; revised October 1, 2013; accepted October 9, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Masayoshi Nagata et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Li-
cense, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Little information on cancer coverage rather than newspaper and television is available. Japanese weekly magazines
have a circulation of over 2,700,000 per week. To examine how they delivered urogenital cancer information to the
public, cancer-related articles and advertisements in six major Japanese weekly magazines from 2009 to 2010 was ana-
lyzed. 1.8% of total articles and advertisements were cancer-related. Prostate cancer (n = 119) was the second-most
common topic, following lung cancer (n = 145), whereas only three arti c le s were pu bl i shed on kid ney or bl ad der cancer.
The 53 articles on therapies for prostate cancer comprised radiotherapy (n = 29), surgery (n = 16), chemotherapy (n = 4),
and others (n = 4). All 42 comments or interviews were cited in the article on prostate cancer, while 26 of them were
attributed to only two famous doctor s. Although cancer cover age in weekly magazines could be useful to spread infor-
mation on prostate cancer, w e should recognize their considerable bias based on a disproportionate emphasis.
Keywords: Cancer Coverage; Weekly Magazine; Prostate Cancer
Cancer is one of the major concerns in aged societies.
Some researchers investigated cancer coverage on media,
while most reports were related to newspapers [1,2] or
television . Little information is available o n the other
Weekly magazines have the second-largest circulation
following newspapers in Japan and provide broad infor-
mation for a large readership, particularly focusing on
middle-aged males. The Japanese weekly magazines
could be thought as equ ivalent to the tabloids in Western
countries. In the previous report, we demonstrated that
cancer articles in weekly magazines were common paper
media for providing cancer information to the public,
although the information provided might place emphasis
on unestablished treatments or biased opinions . After
a famous Japanese comedian, Mr. Kampei Hazama, con-
fessed prostate cancer, numbers of prostate cancer arti-
cles increased over three-fold (2.0 to 6.6) . In this
study, we investigated cancer-related articles and adver-
tisements on weekly magazines, particularly on urogeni-
tal cancer, to demonstrate trends in the public in aged
2. Materials and Methods
Cancer-related articles and advertisements in six major
Japanese weekly magazines (Weekly Gendai, Sunday Mai-
nichi, Weekly Bunshun, Weekly Asahi, Weekly Shincho,
and Weekly Post) with the circulation of approximately
2,700,000 per week, were investigated from July 2009 to
December 2010. All articles including urogenital cancer
were extracted and classified according to types of pri-
mary sites, topics, and treatment. Comments, interviews,
and serial columns from oncologists cited in cancer-arti-
cles were examined to evaluate their adequateness by
two authors (M. N. and M. K.).
We extracted 1037 (1.8%) cancer-related articles and
advertisements in total 58,632. Prostate cancer (n = 119)
was the second-most common topic, following lung c an cer
(n = 145). Only three articles were published on kidney
or bladder cancer. Topics of the 119 articles on prostate
cancer comprised therapies (n = 53), case re ports (n = 28),
checkup of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) (n = 8), and
opyright © 2013 SciRes. OJU
M. NAGATA ET AL. 247
others (n = 20). The 53 articles on therapies comprised
radiotherapy (n = 29), surgery (n = 16), chemotherapy (n
= 4), and others (n = 4). Many celebrities disclosed
acquiring prostate cancer. Whereas number of prostate
cancer articles increased after publishing Mr. Hazama’s
prostate cancer story, advertisements of an enlightenment
activity which advocate PSA checkup, “Blue Clover
Campaign”, appeared in magazines during the periods.
All 42 comments were cited in the 119 article on prostate
cancer, while 26 of them were attributed to two famous
doctors (a radiologist and an urologist).
Magazines are useful media for providing information on
urogenital cancer. They could be an effective measure
that assists the enlightenment of prevention and early
detection of prostate cancer, since a large part of the rea-
dership is aged males. However, they have issues to be
discussed. Firstly, prostate cancer was the topic in 97%
of all the articles on urogenital cancer. It should be noted
that morbidities of prostate, bladder and kidney cancer in
Japanese males are 69, 20, and 16 per 100,000 respec-
tively. Magazines are insuffic ient for delivering informa-
tion on bladder or kidney cancer. It would be of interest
if readers in general might be more interested in prostate
cancer as more people are affected and hence, magazines
just mirror that interest. Alternatively it might as well be
possible that magazines are motivated to create an inter-
Secondly, celebrities with cancer probably play a
pivotal role in drawing publics’ attention to cancer.
While most cancer coverage in newspaper is related to
politics and incidents , those in magazines are des-
cribed through the eyes of each patient. Interestingly, num-
bers of cancer-related articles increased following con-
fession of affected celebrities. These facts are compara-
ble to previous reports in the Western countries [5,6].
Third, considerable bias exists in cancer-articles. Sur-
gery is a major treatment option for prostate cancer in
Japan . More than half of prostate can cer articles were,
however, on radiotherapy because a famous radiologist
was in charge of serial column. Surprisingly, 62% of the
comments were made by only two doctors. Journalists
hope to use comments of big-name specialists, which
attract attention from readers. Although each comment
was medically pertinent, these situations might easily
cause prejudicial understanding in readers.
Finally, there are some limitations in this study to be
discussed. The observation periods were too short to dr aw
a definite conclusion. Further long-term studies are re-
quired. Next, these articles could be used as platforms for
open or hidden advertisements. Consequently, the num-
ber and potential influence of cancer-related advertise-
ments were probably underestimated, since any invest-
ment or finance to the magazines by hospitals, office
urologists, or pharmaceutical companies might affect th eir
contents. Lastly, there could be a problem with the as-
sumption that these six “Japanese” magazines could rep-
resent other innumerable magazines. We need to extend
over a wide range of magazines, including online maga-
zines and other countries’ magazines.
While cancer coverage in weekly magazines is useful
to spread information on prostate cancer around the pub-
lic, we should recognize their distinctive characteristics
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Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJU