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The purpose of this project is to obtain a better understanding of cancer support groups in terms of: a) what they reveal about the cultural and social factors that mediate people’s experiences of cancer and b) what they reveal about the dynamics and functions of support groups themselves.


  • What cultural models of cancer are created and manifested at support groups and how do they cohere with and challenge biomedical views, as well as alternative ethnomedical models?
  • How are the experiences of people living with cancer (including understandings of treatment, recovery, suffering and death) situated on the basis of factors such as gender, ethnicity, and social class?
  • What functions do support groups serve for those who take part in them?
  • What factors are integral to a ‘successful’ support group?
  • How can support groups be made more attractive to people of diverse social and cultural backgrounds?

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