Cancer and the development of will

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 6 (2) (1985)
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People with cancer, who live better or longer than expected or who recover completely despite a poor medical prognosis, usually go through a profound change and self-development. This paper is an attempt to describe and understand the nature of this transformation by examining how initially unexamined conceptions of oneself, life, illness, etc., become manifest and get developed. One feature of this process is that people leave the present-day medical conception, which is based on the notion of victim of and battle against illness, and discover that they have other resources for dealing with life and illness. It will be argued that at the centre of this transformation lies the discovery and development of the will, which is closely associated with the willingness to examine one's conceptions of oneself, health, illness and life.



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