Clinical "Sound Bites": Temporality and Meaning in the Treatment and Experience of Cancer


  • Susan Digiacomo



This paper develops a series of research questions regarding temporality in illness experience —specifically, the illness experience of cancer patients. The research, to be carried out in one of Boston’s Harvard Medical School— affiliated teaching hospitals, is planned over approximately one year beginning late this spring, and has two dimensions. The first stage deals with the perspective from the patient's side of the desk. The Patient network, a social service to cancer patients seeking assistance in coping with their disease and its treatment, makes use of the experience and insight of former cancer patients who serve as volunteer counselors, attempting whenever possible to match volunteers and patients by diagnosis and treatment. The subjects of the study are the volunteers, rather than patients in treatment, in order to develop an understanding of temporality in survivorship. Two related questions shape this portion of research. The first of these is whether there are any consistently problematic domains of illness experience for cancer patients; and if so, to what extent these domains are generated by the institutional context of treatment in its use of space and time —for example, by the referral of patients by their oncologists to other specialists for treatment of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 


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Com citar

Digiacomo, S. (2016). Clinical "Sound Bites": Temporality and Meaning in the Treatment and Experience of Cancer. Arxiu d’Etnografia De Catalunya, (7), 58–68.