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Construction of meanings about illness and death in the narratives of children with cancer

Narratives come out to arrange the human experience altered by the disruption in its canonical status. In this sense, a disease like cancer can be considered an exceptional experience that requires the narrative to mean it. This study investigated the construction of meanings about the disease and death in the narratives of children with cancer in different stages of treatment. Thus, six sessions of play were performed with each child. Data analysis showed that children in longer treatment tend to conclude their narratives with the death of the characters and the children under shorter treatment time present narratives related both to physical discomfort to which the treatment leads to and impairments that the disease cause in their lives. The results indicate the need for greater attention on how children talk about the disease and the subsequent possibility of death during the course of cancer treatment, so that we can be aware of the diversity of treatment moments, understanding that they configure different subjective relationships about children's health problem and death.

Children with cancer; disease; death; construction of meaning; narrative

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