Author(s): Tishelman C, Sachs L
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Abstract This article illustrates a group of cancer patients' descriptions and explanations of their experiences of health care encounters involving professional and lay processes of diagnosis related to definitions of normality. An interdisciplinary approach, representing nursing and medical anthropology, has been used in attempting to better understand data derived from semistructured interviews with 46 persons diagnosed with cancer in the greater Stockholm area and with 29 of their significant others. We argue that people in this study tend to deal with disruptive situations by attempting to construct order. In the stories presented by these cancer patients, a diagnostic process becomes evident in which patients first become "nonnormal" within a popular framework and later meet positive criteria to become "normally diseased" with the legitimization this provides. We thus see a way for the involved actors to deal with potentially difficult situations by redefining the concept of normality.
This article was published in Qual Health Res
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation