Date of Award

Winter 2014

Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Communication Studies

First Advisor

Winter, James


Language, literature and linguistics, Communication and the arts, Breast cancer, Criticaldiscourse analysis, Media, Politics, Propaganda model




Research on media coverage of breast cancer has illustrated a tendency to report most often on prevalence, detection and treatment with a general lack of environmental and prevention oriented stories. In spite of growing evidence of links between environmental and occupational exposures and breast cancer causation, the media seem generally to omit these factors. A detailed critical discourse analysis (CDA) was conducted on 125 articles from the Toronto Star in the year 2012, with the Propaganda Model (PM) as the theoretical framework. Seven different themes were found in the coverage of breast cancer and CDA was utilized to expose how the dominant ideology came to bear on those texts, including the general omission and/or downplaying of environmental and occupational exposures in relation to breast cancer, as well as primary prevention. Given the significance for public health, understanding how the media cover the breast cancer epidemic can reveal necessary paradigm shifts.