Cancer center ads that play on fear and emotion


Natasha Singer of the New York Times has an important story on cancer center advertising, including embedding actual radio, TV and print ads in the online version of the article.


I read todays article about cancer center ads. I want to say that thank God for Mt Sinai's advertising, it found us Dr. Samadi. He is the most compasionate doctor I have ever met. After our initial consultation, he gave us his personal cel number and home number in case we had any more questions. (I was in a mild state of shock after learning I had prostate cancer.) We decided on using the robotic surgery proceedure. It was the best decision my wife and I ever made. The same night of the operation, I was walking in the hallway of the hospital. The next morning I WALKED to the elevator and out to a waiting car. I was back at work in 9 days. I am now cancer free and can only thank Mt Sinai for having the smarts to have David Samadi in charge of prostate surgery. I never even took an asprin afterwards. It is now 2 years after the proceedure and I have never had any incontinence or sexual problem. I am 71 years old and looking forward to a full life, thanks to Samadi. Leave the advertising alone. It saved my life! (I just hope I dont get hit by a car)


Happy to hear you had such a good experience.

Unfortunately, what the ads promise may not play out so well for everyone as you say it did for you.

The plural of anecdote is not data.

So, no, I won’t leave the advertising alone.

And I think the Times did a great job in shedding light on the topic.

This reminds me of the increasing number of drug studies that are developed through collaborations between academic medical centers and drug companies. Pharmaceutical-industry investment in research exceeds the entire operating budget of the NIH.

It is important to understand the influence that industry involvement may have on the nature and direction of cancer research. Studies backed by pharmaceutical companies are significantly more likely to report positive results.

Over the past couple of years, if you watched TV regularly, it would have been difficult to miss the direct to consumer advertising that touted the benefits of these drugs, especially for patients undergoing treatment for cancer.

Even to the point that buses covered with "shrink wrapped" advertising being strategically placed outside major cancer centers for patients and their families to see (EPO anyone?).

Drugmakers are going directly to the consumer at a time when their products are indeed at the margins of evidence-based medicine. On one hand, pharmaceuticals advertise extensively and the advertising is manipulative in the extreme.

On the other hand, even NCI-designated cancer centers do this sort of direct to consumer, hard sell advertising. The media advertising is no more misleading than the one-on-one communication which often goes on between a chemotherapy candidate and an oncologist.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on December 19, 2009 9:01 AM.

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