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Research Letter
August 2016

Trends in Cancer-Center Spending on Advertising in the United States, 2005 to 2014

Author Affiliations
  • 1Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 2Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 3Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 4Division of General Internal Medicine, Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(8):1214-1216. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.0780

In the United States, cancer centers commonly advertise clinical services directly to the public. Potential benefits of such advertising include informing patients about available treatments and reducing the stigma of cancer.1,2 Potential risks include misleading vulnerable patients and creating false hopes, increasing demand for unnecessary tests and treatments, adversely affecting existing physician-patient relationships, and increasing health care costs.3,4 Understanding the trends in the advertising spending of cancer centers and the characteristics of the centers that spend the most can inform the debate about the effect of their advertisements. We hypothesized that advertising spending by cancer centers has increased and is concentrated among for-profit cancer centers.

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