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Future Oncol. 2008 Oct;4(5):717-33. doi: 10.2217/14796694.4.5.717.

Stigma in cancer patients whose behavior may have contributed to their disease.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


The purpose of the present review is to examine stigma and its consequences among people with cancer, with an emphasis on the situation in which one's behavior may have contributed to the disease. We examine whether voluntarily engaging in behavior that adds to cancer risk leads to increased stigma after cancer onset, as compared with when one's behavior is not considered (by the affected individual or by others) to have contributed to the onset of cancer. We conducted literature searches in PsychInfo and Medline and identified 38 published papers that empirically addressed cancer-related stigma. We found evidence of increased negative attitudes and more severe consequences of stigma among people that have engaged in a behavior that is perceived to have contributed to their cancer, compared with those who are not perceived to have contributed to their disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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