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A new normal?: Women's experiences of biographical disruption and liminality following treatment for early stage breast cancer

Trusson, Diane; Pilnick, Alison; Roy, Srila

Authors

Alison Pilnick

Srila Roy



Abstract

Increasing numbers of women are surviving breast cancer, but little is known about the long-term implications of having survived a life-threatening illness and living with embodied reminders of its potential to return. Twenty-four women aged between 42 and 80 (median 1/4 51)who had been treated for early stage breast cancer in the UK between 6 months and 29 years previously, were recruited through local media and interviewed. Analysis of their narratives revealed challenges in the post-treatment period that were conceptualised as biographical disruption and liminality. Although no longer ill, an ongoing fear of recurrence combined with embodied changes prevented a return to ‘normal’ i.e. a pre-cancer state in terms of health status, identity and relationships. We argue that following the biographical disruption of breast cancer, a ‘new normal’ entails a continual renegotiation of identities, daily lives and futures as time passes and lives evolve.

Citation

Trusson, D., Pilnick, A., & Roy, S. (2016). A new normal?: Women's experiences of biographical disruption and liminality following treatment for early stage breast cancer. Social Science and Medicine, 151, 121-129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.01.011

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 8, 2016
Online Publication Date Jan 12, 2016
Publication Date 2016-02
Deposit Date Apr 25, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 25, 2016
Journal Social Science & Medicine
Print ISSN 0277-9536
Electronic ISSN 0277-9536
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 151
Pages 121-129
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.01.011
Keywords UK; Breast cancer; Biographical disruption; Liminality; Post-treatment; ‘New normal’
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/978710
Publisher URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953616300119

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