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<p>Cancer patients, nurses, doctors, advocates and scholars will gather Nov. 6-8 on the Indiana University School of Medicine campus to explore how stories about cancer have affected perceptions about the illness.</p>

Cancer Stories: How Telling the Tale Impacts the Illness

“Cancer Stories: The Impact of Narrative on a Modern Malady,” is a free two-day medical humanities symposium based on the premise that narratives about cancer have shaped the human and institutional response to cancer in America. Prose, poetry, performance and the visual arts constitute and their role in the perceptions about cancer will be discussed.

The program will included presentations of cancer stories by physicians, nurses, patients, artists, and advocates to explore how the cultural meaning of cancer has shaped the human and institutional response to it.

“Cancer Stories” speakers and their topics will include:

  • David Cantor, deputy director of the Office of NIH History, “Choosing to Live: Cancer Education, Movies, and the Conversion Narrative in 20th Century America”
  • Arthur W. Frank, professor of sociology at the University of Calgary, Ontario, Canada, “Telling Your Story: Narrative Illness in an Age of Authenticity and Appropriation”
  • Martha Stoddard-Holmes, associate professor of literature and writing studies, California State University, “Cancer Comix: Narrating Cancer through Sequential Art”

An independent documentary film, “A Lion in the House: The Transformative Power of Storytelling at End-of-Life” will be shown and other breakout sessions are included covering everything from scar photograph to the metaphors of living.

The event is sponsored by the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the Indiana University Department of Medicine and the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

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