Risky business: Medical discourse, breast cancer, and narrative

  • Davis E
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Abstract

This study explores the construction of risk and patient identity in medical discourse directed toward women with breast cancer. Eleven documents produced by the National Cancer Institute on the topic of breast cancer are studied using narrative analysis. A distinct patient narrative presents all women as at risk for breast cancer and creates an idealized patient identity that serves a prescriptive function for women. The narrative constructs an early-cancer experience where the patient is treatable and cancer is cured or controlled. There are no significant changes in the narrative after time.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Narrative
  • Risk

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Authors

  • Elizabeth M. Davis

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