Back to search

SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell

RETHINKING CANCER SURVIVORSHIP Exploring the foundations of research on how humans experience and voice cancer in a Norwegian context

Alternative title: Kreftoverlevelse på nye måter. Om hvordan man i Norge erfarer og italesetter kreft

Awarded: NOK 9.1 mill.

Project Number:


Application Type:

Project Period:

2018 - 2023


Subject Fields:

Since the start of the project, we have employed one PhD-student and one post.doc-student. As of today, they are both well versed in the data production and initial analyses of the dataset. The PhD-candidate is following the doctoral program at the Faculty of Medicine, UiO, and has been approved for three courses, all relevant to the sub-project she is part of. She has also collected and systematized the empirical material that is part of WP2. The postdoc-student, for her part, has completed all the planned interviews with the two patient groups that are part of WP1 and also started the analysis with special articles in mind. In addition, in the spring of 2018 we arranged a start-up conference for the entire consortium where our international participants were present and where we also had invited representatives of the relevant types of cancer we are studying (patients and patient associations). In 2019, we organized a theory seminar for the Norwegian part of the consortium where several of the senior researchers presented ideas and critical perspectives of the very concept of "cancer survivor". Some of these ideas were taken further and include abstract to international conferences in the field of medical humanities / medical anthropology that are now approved (unfortunately postponed due to the corona situation). In January 2020, we arranged a seminar in Tromsø / UiT for the entire consortium where we especially had a focus on the analytical perspectives. In addition to this, we put together sub-seminars regularly for the various WPs where we mainly work with publications based on the empirical material and the theoretical discussions. Several works related to the project have been submitted to scientific journals and some are expected for publication (see separate overview in the report). Furthermore, related to WP 2, and in collaboration with Vardesenteret, Radiumhospitalet, and OUS, we have arranged a creative writing course with patients who have or have had cancer. This collaboration will continue and two of the researchers will go into advisory functions related to creative writing. Regarding the dissemination linked to the project, the PhD-student and postdoc-student in the project have, among other things, given several presentations in the relevant patient associations that our project includes. We have also published an article about the project in one of the major Norwegian daily newspaper (Dagsavisen). In 2021 the consortium has mainly met via digital platforms, including analysis seminar January 27-28 where the collaborating partners from the clinic (OUS) also participated. The members of the consortium have also presented their work in various seminar and conference forums, including paper at the international conference Chronic Living as well as presentations from the project at the annual conference of the Nordic Network for Narratives in Medicine, Copenhagen. In addition, there have been regular meetings in both work package 1 and 2 and in 2021 several articles have been published in international referee-based journals and several articles are prepared to be submitted. In 2022 we arranged writing courses for patients diagnosed with cancer in 2022, both in collaboration with and at the Vardesenteret at Radiumhospitalet, Oslo University Hospital. Hilde Bondevik and Oddgeir Synnes were the course leaders for the course that ran in spring 2022, and the adviser/assistant Guro Skottene for the course in autumn 2022. Texts from the courses as well as interviews with participants will form part of the material in the project. We have also conducted extensive dissemination in 2022; PhD Kaja Kvaale and postdoc Eira Bjørvik have participated as main guests in the podcast Kreftkompasset, Kari Solbrække has written for the Medisinerbloggen at UiO as well as participated as main presenter at the conference Cancer and new forms of treatment. In order to strengthen the dissemination of results in the project to a larger Norwegian public, including cancer survivors, relatives and cancer practitioners, we have kicked-off an anthology in Norwegian with the title "Kreftoverlevelse på nye måter", edited by Kari Solbrække and Hilde Bondevik. Related to that we have signed an agreement with the publisher Spartacus. In terms of academic quality, the anthology will be assessed by an anonymous consultant (and thus given level-1 status in the Norwegian publication system). The first drafts of chapters are submitted and together with the publisher we are aiming for the anthology to be published by the autumn 2023. Two papers from the project have been accepted by international peer-reviewed journals and another two papers presented at the annual conference of the Nordic Network for Narratives in Medicine, Lund. In addition, we have been invited and have accepted an abstract for an upcoming special issue on 'Total Pain in the 21st Century' in the journal Frontiers in Sociology.

Taking the continuously increasing number of cancer survivors in Norway as a central point of departure, our project seeks to advance research in the humanities and social sciences as well as in medicine and health sciences by critically inquiring the category 'cancer survivorship' and its cultural premises and ramifications in today's society and human existence. Based on interviews and textual studies the project will develop knowledge on how Norwegians experience and voice cancer and how these experiences might interplay with hegemonic cultural discourses on how to deal with cancer and life beyond. One main ambition is to bridge this knowledge to public attitudes, health authorities as well as clinical practice and thereby enable to provide the most qualified and targeted cancer care possible. These aims are strongly allied with the need for better knowledge on how human existence and technological innovations intersect in a manner that constitutes new ways of thinking of and practicing health, illness and embodiment in Norway and elsewhere. The two types of cancer that will be examined are gynecological and colorectal cancer, disease entities that seem to be strikingly silenced and taboo in the Norwegian society. The research questions raised will be asked by a consortium of professionals, including national and international researchers and patient representatives, who take a strong interest in addressing such questions in interdisciplinary and highly inventive ways.

Publications from Cristin

No publications found

Funding scheme:

SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell