Ghosts in the Machinery:Living With and Beyond Radiotherapy Treatment for Gynaecological Cancer

Stewart, Hilary and Ashmore, Lisa and Kragh-Furbo, Mette and Singleton, Vicky and Hutton, Daniel (2022) Ghosts in the Machinery:Living With and Beyond Radiotherapy Treatment for Gynaecological Cancer. Health. ISSN 1363-4593

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Abstract

This paper explores post-treatment experiences of women who have had radiotherapy for gynaecological cancer. Drawing on data from a project which explored post-treatment wellbeing, conceptual metaphors of ghosts/haunting are used to engage with enduring legacies of cancer and ‘neglected matters’ in post-treatment trajectories. Current arrangements of care contribute to the idea that participants are ‘out of the other side of cancer’ once active treatment completes. Despite broader ambitions for holistic cancer rehabilitation, fragilities of body and mind persist, even when the outward representation is one of health, of looking well, of moving on. We show how neglected matters of cancer (visceral late effects, psychological suffering and lives not lived) are part of living with and beyond cancer. These ‘ghosts’ manifest in chronic states of unsettledness that are temporarily relieved by individualised ‘fixes’, such as mobilisation of ‘mind over matter’ discourse and mindfulness. This discourse and its associated tools are a powerful yet impoverished framing of approaches to living with and beyond cancer. We argue for the need to attend to ‘neglected matters’ of post-treatment trajectories differently.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Data Sharing Template/no
Subjects:
ID Code:
173400
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
21 Jul 2022 09:55
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
28 Jul 2022 14:15