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“My story of overcoming”: suffering, testimony and therapeutic practices in cancer narratives

This paper aimed to investigate the communication of suffering in a qualitative research analyzing the patients’ testimonies in a cancer clinic in Rio de Janeiro. The goal was to problematize the contents, enunciative strategies and discursive scenes in order to understand the meanings of illness, suffering and person. It was observed that the publicization of these narratives was linked to the contemporaneous reconfiguration of health and disease processes, marked by the notions of sick person and the rationale of risk. It’s also related to the social representation of cancer in which the memories of lethality and its increasing incidence made it a threatening, albeit a more familiar event. The conditions of communicability were connected to the emergence of suffering as a socially valued experience. These reports reveal the strength of biographical narratives and the exposure of intimacy as a therapeutic act in the contemporary context.

Suffering; Illness; Cancer; Biographical narratives


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