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  • Cancer risk communication in the news coverage of suspected cancer clusters

Cancer risk communication in the news coverage of suspected cancer clusters

  • 26 Mar 2021
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Webinar

Cancer risk communication in the news coverage of suspected cancer clusters in Ontario: Contrasting media messaging on cancer by geography

Cancer clusters attract considerable interest from the public, the media and governments, and the risk communication undertaken during an investigation may impact cancer risk perceptions. This study analyzed the content of 84 news articles on cancer clusters in Ontario during 1990-2017 to examine how the media’s cancer risk communication varied across the province. On average, articles reporting on urban cancer clusters used quantitative descriptors of risk more frequently than articles reporting on rural cancer clusters. Messaging around cancer risk differed between articles reporting on environmental versus occupational cancer clusters. The results from this study suggest that the news coverage of cancer risk varies between different geographic settings in Ontario, which could influence community health literacy and cancer risk perceptions.

Presenter: Cathy Slavik

Cathy Slavik is a PhD candidate and sessional lecturer in Health Geography at McMaster University. She is a recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship for her research on health risk communication and cancer risk perceptions. She previously obtained her Master’s of Public Health from the University of Toronto in 2016.

Cathy has also worked on various research projects at the Occupational Cancer Research Centre, specializing in geographic analyses of occupational and environmental exposures to carcinogens in Canada. It was this work that led to her doctoral research on risk communication and improving cancer risk messaging to address knowledge gaps around the intersections between geography and health communication.

The Occupational and Environmental Health Seminar Series is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The series is also approved by Council of Professional Experience for professional development hours (PDHs) for members of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI), and by the Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists (CRBOH) for Registration Maintenance (RM) points. For more information, please contact Victoria Arrandale (

***Please note: This event is online only. ***

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