Experiencing Cancer: Quality of Life in Treatment

By Kirsten Costain Schou; Jenny Hewison | Go to book overview

Introduction

The experience of treatment for cancer is an exhausting, time- and energyconsuming, complex and often confusing process. This book aims to give a detailed expression of this experience, in particular its social nature, as constructed in the interview accounts of a heterogeneous group of newly diagnosed cancer patients. Through these accounts, quality of life in treatment is seen to be largely a function of the quality of care in treatment.

Chapter 1 provides a critical overview of quality of life and psychosocial oncology work. The dominance of a ‘functional living’ model in quality of life studies, and of a cognitive, individualistic, pathology-oriented focus in psychosocial oncology have led to lack of adequate consideration of the social aspects of the cancer illness experience. Included in the latter are aspects of the health care system and its impact on patients' and families' quality of life, the social conditions subsuming this system and their impact, the impact on the family, treatment experience itself and especially treatment as a social situation, and the need for more contextual research on illness experience and health care settings.

In Chapter 2, this focus on the asocial and individualistic nature of psychosocial oncology is continued with a discussion of the ‘antiseptic’, asocial view of treatment presented in much of the literature on treatment in psychosocial oncology, with particular reference to studies of diagnosis experience. Many such studies reveal a lack of concern for the social contexts of diagnostic encounters, and how the social situation of diagnosis is constructed through language. Instead, language is viewed non-problematically as a purely referential medium. In the psychosocial literature on diagnostic and treatment experience there is a pervasive location of problems and

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Experiencing Cancer: Quality of Life in Treatment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Facing Death ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editor's Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Cancer and the Quality of Life: Psycho(Social) Oncology and the Medical Model 5
  • 2 - Treatment as Social Interaction 21
  • 3 - Diagnosis and the Early Illness Calendar 45
  • 4 - Getting Started: Preparing for Life in the Treatment Calendar 74
  • 5 - Being Treated: Navigating the Treatment Calendar 110
  • 6 - Discussion 153
  • Appendix 172
  • References 181
  • Index 191
  • New Themes in Palliative Care 198
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