Changing narratives of prostate cancer 1990-2010.
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Prostate cancer (PCa) is a unique and controversial disease. This is at least due to the high prevalence of latent disease, increasing amounts of which is being diagnosed, most of which is indolent and not lead to death, and for which treatment carries significant risks. An increasing concern in medical sociology is how various social structures and actors contribute to the diagnosis and experience of conditions. For PCa, these include print media as an information source for men with prostate cancer (MWPCa), and PCa organisations (PCaOrgs) which have recently emerged in the UK. Yet, there is a distinct lack of UK studies of print media representation of PCa, of PCaOrgs, interaction between the two, and how any of this may impact on the experience of MWPCa. This thesis aims to address this deficit by drawing on narrative and framing theory to study 201 illness narratives of PCa across time: 140 illness narratives of MWPCa in UK newspapers 1990-2010; 20 with MWPCa interviewed in each of 2000 and 2010; and 21 with advocates around PCaOrgs in 2010. I ask: how have PCaOrgs and the UK print media been a force for change in the UK regarding how PCa is addressed and experienced by MWPCa? And more broadly what does this say about narrative structure and form. My findings indicate that though PCaOrgs and print media told stories of injustice around PCa, the substantive focus of this injustice changed over time—from PCa as “neglected” and “taboo” in the 1990s to other “pockets of injustice” since 2000. While one might expect that this to lessen any interactional difficulty that MWPCa experience in disclosing their illness, my study suggests this may not be so. My findings show how ideas of resonance and dissonance contribute to understanding the recursive and repetitive language around PCa.
- Theses