Presswatch monitored all national daily and weekend broadsheet and tabloid papers to compile the chart, as well as around 300 consumer magazines and specialist healthcare periodicals, from 1 January to 31 December 2006.
With cancer being one of the biggest killers in Western society, newspapers retain a fascination with any hope
of cures – controversy over NHS funding of Roche drug Herceptin dominated coverage in the summer and autumn of last year.
Further research (not illustrated) shows that 38 per cent of coverage of cancer was about breast cancer, with 11 per cent on lung cancer – this despite the fact that lung cancer is the biggest killer of men and women.
Other forms of cancer that attracted media attention were prostate (ten per cent) and leukaemia (nine per cent), with cervical, bowel, colorectal and other forms of cancer scoring progressively smaller percentage shares.
The second category – immunology and anti-virals – includes influenza and HIV. Coverage of mental health (third) was dominated by depression, followed by schizophrenia, dementia and ADHD.
Other disease areas that complete the 2006 top ten are sexual/reproductive health, diabetes, CNS, respiratory, pain and – finally – smoking.
Health Watch will feature in PRWeek in each month of 2007, analysing trends in health coverage.
Health Watch: disease area coverage in 2006