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Cancer Rehabilitation in Denmark:

The Growth of a New Narrative

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Abstract

A fundamental assumption behind cancer rehabilitation in many Western societies is that cancer survivors can return to normal life by learning to deal with the consequences of their illness and their treatment. This assumption is supported by increasing political attention to cancer rehabilitation and a growth in residential cancer-rehabilitation initiatives in Denmark (Danish Cancer Society 1999;Government of Denmark 2003). On the basis of their ethnographic fieldwork in residential-cancer rehabilitation courses, the authors examine the new rehabilitation discourse. They argue that this discourse has challenged the dominant illness narrative, “sick–helped–cured,” producing a new narrative, “sick–helped–as if cured,” and that this new narrative is produced and reproduced through technologies of power and of the self.

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