The significance of cultural norms and clinical logics for the perception of possible relapse in rural Northern Norway – sensing symptoms of cancer

  • Magdalena Skowronski | msk046@uit.no Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway.
  • Mette Bech Risør Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway.
  • Nina Foss Department of Health and Care Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Abstract

Little is known about the process from experiencing indeterminate bodily sensations to perceiving them as possible symptoms of cancer relapse. We explore how such processes are related to local values and to clinical practice in rural Northern Norway. One-year ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in a coastal village involving ten key participants residing in the village who had undergone cancer treatment from six months to five years earlier. The village has instability in primary health care staffing, which influences how and when indeterminate bodily sensations are presented to shifting GPs. The participants feel that they have to present clear symptoms, so they hesitate to see the doctor for such bodily sensations. Moreover, the personal evaluation of bodily sensations is embedded in local values in the village. Core values are to contribute to the common good, not be a burden, be positive and avoid focusing on difficult things. Participants’ inner dialogues with co-villagers and health personnel lead to not sharing concerns about bodily sensations, even though they might be symptoms of relapse. We suggest a rethinking and relocation of Hay’s analysis of social legitimation in sense-tosymptom processes in order to grasp the experiences of cancer in rural Northern Norway.

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Published
2017-12-31
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Original Articles
Keywords:
relapse, sense-to-symptom, Northern Norway, primary health care, local values, rural health care
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How to Cite
Skowronski, Magdalena, Mette Bech Risør, and Nina Foss. 2017. “The Significance of Cultural Norms and Clinical Logics for the Perception of Possible Relapse in Rural Northern Norway – Sensing Symptoms of Cancer”. Qualitative Research in Medicine and Healthcare 1 (3). https://doi.org/10.4081/qrmh.2017.7116.