The ethics of hope: newspaper reporting of chemotherapy

McGrath, Pam and Turner, Geoff (1995) The ethics of hope: newspaper reporting of chemotherapy. Australian Studies in Journalism, 4: 50-71.

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Author McGrath, Pam
Turner, Geoff
Title The ethics of hope: newspaper reporting of chemotherapy
Journal name Australian Studies in Journalism
Publication date 1995-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Issue 4
Start page 50
End page 71
Editor Henningham, John
Place of publication Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Publisher University of Queensland, School of Journalism and Communication
Language eng
Abstract Although used extensively for experimental and palliative reasons, chemotherapy is a double-edged sword, offering only limited 'curative' value at the cost of significant side-effects from the toxicity of the drugs. Analysis of a newspaper database shows the portrayal of chemotherapy unduly emphasises the 'semiotics of hope', concentrating on stoic patients and highlighting the hopeful expectation of positive breakthroughs, even where these are unlikely. If cancer patients are to make truly informed choices about whether or not to opt for chemotherapy, they need to have a realistic assessment of the risk and benefits of the treatment. Although issues of informed consent are traditionally confined to the doctor-patient relationship, this article argues that because patients gain much of their information from the media, the media must also take responsibility for their role. A more realistic media would be more helpful to cancer patients when they are at their most vulnerable.
Keyword Chemotherapy
Cancer patients
Media treatment of cancer
News framing
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Wed, 04 Feb 2004, 10:00:00 EST