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Open Access Publications from the University of California

To Be Told You Have Cancer

Published Web Location Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license

This paper functions as a narrative examining the firsthand account of a family encountering the mother’s diagnosis of ovarian and lung cancer.  This experience and its relationship with society is explored through concepts such as the perception of time, family roles, biomedical culture, and conceptions of normality. While explicitly delineating the connections between theoretical lenses like those of Arthur Kleinman and Ruth Benedict to the story at hand, the main purpose of the paper is to highlight the complexity of illness. This is completed by examining only the very first moments of diagnosis and its profound, permanent effects on patients and their loved ones.



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