When facing a cancer diagnosis, patients and their families understandably
want to find the best medical care possible. Television advertisements
for treatment centers that tout “groundbreaking” treatment
and feature patient success stories can be persuasive, but are they telling
the whole story?
According to a new study, many of these commercials feature a lot of hype
and very few facts. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh examined
409 advertisements from 102 centers across the United States. They found
that discussions of the benefits highly outweighed any mention of the
risks, with just two percent of ads addressing the possible downsides
Below are a few more findings from the study, which is published in the
Annals of Internal Medicine:
- Few advertisements mentioned coverage or costs (5%), and none mentioned
specific insurance plans.
- Emotional appeals were frequent (85%), evoking hope for survival (61%),
describing cancer treatment as a fight or battle (41%), and inducing fear (30%).
- Nearly one half of advertisements included patient testimonials, which
were usually focused on survival, rarely included disclaimers (15%), and
never described the results that a typical patient may expect.
Unlike prescriptions drugs, advertisements for hospitals and other healthcare
facilities are not tightly regulated. Therefore, it is imperative for
patients to ask questions and do their own research before choosing a
If you or someone you love has suffered from medical negligence, don’t
a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.