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Qual Health Res. 2002 Feb;12(2):208-22.

"Unremarkable" recoveries: normalizing adversity and cancer survival.

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  • 1Prevention Research Center, Berkeley, CA, USA.


Much of the existing popular literature suggests that survival from life-threatening diseases encourages a process of self-transformation. Seventeen long-term survivors of metastatic cancer were interviewed about the impact of a life-threatening condition on their life stories. Contrary to the existing literature, which suggests such an event greatly transforms the individual, nearly all of those interviewed for this study framed their unusual recoveries as being largely unremarkable. Traditional North American cultural values, which normalize adversity, appear to bolster the participants' beliefs that one can have control over one's health and can even resist a recurrence of cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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