“It's like a Full Stop” Women's Healing Stories in Surgical Reconstruction after Breast Cancer.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Barbara MORSELLO, University of Roma Tre, Italy
The interest in medical science by sociology, especially in the United States, has begun since the Thirties and Forties, by authors such as Parsons, Mead, Merton, and especially Strauss and Glaser. This interest arises from the awareness that, with the growing complexity of the social environment and the gradual specialization of medical practice, considering the patient’s social context and its story of illness it becomes more than ever indispensable. From an institutional perspective, however, today is discussed about Narrative Medicine to refer to a new centrality of illness stories, not merely as a limited practice of 'social' and human sciences, but as a central aspect that the medical investigation should identify. Moving into the paradigm of Narrative Medicine, it will be useful to reflect on the power of narrative as remarkable data for research work and clinical practice, but above all to reveal unexpected features at various stages: from pathology to diagnosis, to therapy, and to daily life with the disease. The purpose of the contribution is to discuss the results of an empirical research conducted at the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of the National Cancer Institute ‘Regina Elena’ of Rome (IRE) through the adoption of a narrative approach to breast cancer. The focus was to define different features of the ‘reconstruction' of the body and the biographical re-composition after the disease. Specific attention will be given to how healing processes are activated and perceived by patients, often in contrast with medical perception, creating a ‘middle-earth’, a type of ‘liminal path’ full of desires, fears and expectations.