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Social perceptions of cancer and their impacts: implications for nursing practice arising from the literature

Authors


Jean Flanagan School of Healthcare Studies, Baines Wing, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9UT, England. E-mail: j_flanagan@leeds.ac.uk

Abstract

Social perceptions of cancer and their impacts: implications for nursing practice arising from the literature

At the millennium cancer still holds a special mystique and is imbued with socio-cultural meanings, which extend far beyond the rational, scientific and biological facts of the disease. Excessive fear and dread may cause family and friends to display avoidance or overprotective behaviours to the ill person, who may subsequently perceive dissatisfaction with social support. Drawing on a literature review this paper explores the impact of cancer on social relationships. Interpersonal strain in relationship is often explained in the stigmatization of the illness and this concept is explored through contemporary social theorizing. These findings have direct implications for nursing practice where the goal of care is to enhance the support relationship.

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