A report has been released by the Irish Cancer Registry which predicts a doubling of cancer incidences by 2040. I find it interesting how quickly class invisibility re-emerges in regards to cancer in Ireland. If you remember in September last year the headline to emerge from the annual Irish Cancer Society Charles Cully Lecture in Dublin was that poorer people are up to 70% more likely to get some cancers. This produced a brief ripple with some minor coverage in a few newspapers and featured as a topic in radio one’s Drivetime. As far as I can tell the class aspect of cancer appears to have become lost again from the articles that I have read (a)(b)(c). Additionally, RTE Radio 1 show News at One failed to mention class when discussing the report with Dr Harry Comber from the Irish Cancer Registry.
Of course the media seem merely to be repeating the core predictions of a report in which class does not feature. This behaviour is typical of the journalistic practice of episodic framing: i.e. “case study or event-oriented” depictions of “public issues in terms of concrete issues” (1) that fail “to place stories into sufficient context” (2). Still in failing to connect the report to last year’s comments on class the media reinforce the classless narrative in health care and indeed in society in general.
1. Iyengar S (1994) Is Anyone Responsible?: How Television Frames Political Issues. London: University of Chicago Press.
2. Boykoff M T (2009) We Speak for the Trees: Media Reporting on the Environment. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 34 (1): 431-457.