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Health awareness as genre: the exigence of preparedness in cancer awareness campaigns and critical-illness insurance marketing
  1. Loren Gaudet
  1. School of Journalism, Writing and Media, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Loren Gaudet, School of Journalism, Writing and Media, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada; loren.gaudet{at}


Dominant understandings of genre-as-form have limited our abilities to perceive health awareness: we recognise, and expect, health awareness campaigns from governmental and non-profit agencies. Inversely, we often fail to recognise, or name, health awareness as such when it comes from other sources, such as commercial marketing or advertisements for products. However, rhetorical genre theory centres attention on action brought about by form and, as such, rhetorical genre provides tools for recognising instances of health awareness often escape our notice. One such example is critical-illness insurance marketing. In this article, I argue that critical-illness insurance marketing draws on the same appeals found in cancer awareness campaigns. Through a comparative analysis, I show that Colorectal Cancer Canada and critical-illness insurance marketing represent unpreparedness, rather than cancer, as the exigence, or the problem to be overcome through public discourse, and as such, share a genre of what I call ‘health awareness as preparedness’.

  • rhetoric of bioethics
  • popular media
  • public health

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  • Contributors This article is original, independent work by the author, Loren Gaudet.

  • Funding This research was completed with support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Faculty of Graduate Studies at University of British Columbia.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Data availability statement Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. No data are available. Not applicable.

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