Media coverage of cancer focuses too much on cancer treatment and not enough on the prevention of the disease, it has been claimed.
Research conducted at Michigan State University suggests that people could therefore neglect advice about the prevention of breast cancer as the media will lead them to believe that a cure is imminent.
"What we're concerned about is people will think: 'well, the scientists are going to come up with a cure, so we don't need to worry about prevention,'" confirmed Charles Atkin, one of the authors of the study
"I think this emphasis on treatment, especially so-called breakthroughs, may lead to complacency."
Researchers found that the most common type of story in the media was about breast cancer treatment, while stories about prevention - including people exercising and eating right - were largely neglected.
The study, entitled A Comprehensive Analysis of Breast Cancer News Coverage in Leading Media Outlets Focusing on Environmental Risks and Prevention, is published in the latest edition of the Journal of Health Communication.