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Conference Papers Year : 2017

The chronicization of cancer and the struggle to survive: a patient's case study


SHORT ABSTRACT The new therapeutics available in oncology – mostly through clinical trials – allow new hopes for patients. But the risk of death is still present at all steps of the disease, especially for advanced cancer. So the chronicization can sometimes looks like a struggle to survive much more than an integration to the daily life. We explore this point by the presentation of a patient case study. LONG ABSTRACT The development of new therapeutics perspectives in oncology, such as targeted therapies and immunotherapies, extends the survival time for certain patients. If this lengthening is sometimes described as the transition of cancer to a chronic disease, the comparison stands only in a limited way. First, some of cancers' patients still experiences a progression of their disease and will die from it before the first five years. Second, the representation of the cancer is directly associated to the risk of death and prevents a stable integration of the disease in the patient's live. Third, an important part of those new drugs are still in development and their outcomes remain uncertain. The benefits of these therapeutics innovations in terms of survival extent and quality of life often depend on patients' inclusion in a clinical trial. If the survival time increases for patients with advanced cancer, their trajectories are more complex and hardly comparable to other chronic disease as diabetes. To explore this complexity and the role of clinical trials in what some people call a " chronicization of the cancer " , we present a case study of an unusual patient. After a diagnostic of lung cancer with a poor prognosis, this man actively fights again the disease during seven years particularly by breaking down barriers to access to clinical trials or to get new therapies. The analysis of his care trajectory reveals the ambiguities of the cancer chronicization. We argue that the chronicization can take a marginal way that it occurs at the border of the healthcare system.


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inserm-01868563 , version 1 (05-09-2018)


  • HAL Id : inserm-01868563 , version 1


Aline Sarradon-Eck, Sylvain Besle. The chronicization of cancer and the struggle to survive: a patient's case study. EASA Medical Anthropology Network, 2017, Lisboa, Portugal. ⟨inserm-01868563⟩
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