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Muuttuva syövän kuva ja kokeminen : potilaiden ja ammattilaisten tulkintoja
The aim of the study was to investigate in what way the perceived image and experience of cancer have changed over the period from 1800 to 1990. The issues examined addressed the development of cancer treatment, cancer care and people's conceptions of cancer during this period. In addition, the modernization process of our society had a very special role in this investigation. The study was carried out as a qualitative case study, with 27 cancer patients and 14 professionals acting as informants of the study. The patients and professionals were selected and located through the treatment and care processes of the cancer hospital in Jyväskylä, Finland. The data were collected by means of individual stories and accounts recorded on tape during discussion sessions. On the basis of these tapes, then, descriptions of selected episodes were obtained. Two variables, namely, "dominant speakers" and "distribution of cancer experiences", were identified. The analysis method for the data was "learning through experience". The changes which have occurred in the image and experience of cancer have been dramatic. In the early years cancer was equalled with death and perceived as extremely fearsome. Today cancer is often curable. Surgical care, radiation therapy and chemotherapy treatment are very effective. Nursing practices are also important, and psychosocial working practice has a very special role in cancer care. Because of these developments cancer is not so fearsome any more. Coping with cancer, patient independence and self-action are essential. The patient is better able to rationalize his experience and to put it in perspective with his everyday life. In hospitals, information on the diagnosis, state of cancer and treatment options are given, and the patient is more ready to disclose his cancer diagnosis to his friends. It is no longer kept as a secret. A cancer patient is like any other member of society, who can lead a normal life. Fear of death is not an automatic aspect of the cancer experience. It, too, can be discussed more publicly. All in all, the image of cancer is much more normal today than before: curability, support forms provided, open discussion on cancer and death, increased information, and development of society have brought about this change. In today's society the patient has often had many difficult experiences, and cancer might not be perceived as the most difficult. He has learned to cope with such experiences. If the development of cancer treatment and care continues, the image of cancer will become even more "normal". But there are also problems: professional practices in the field have become multidimensional, fast-paced and uneconomic. How is it possible to give treatment and care, if there is no money available? The patient does not always have money to pay himself for this care. He might not get enough information, or he might get it too late. The diagnosis may be delayed. He might have other acute problems. What is done in these cases? ...
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