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Conversing with Cancer

How to Ask Questions, Find and Share Information, and Make the Best Decisions


Lisa Sparks and Anna Leahy

With more than 40% of people eventually facing a cancer diagnosis, Conversing with Cancer is a much-needed addition to understanding and improving cancer care through strong communication among providers, patients, and caregivers. Each person whose life is affected by a cancer diagnosis—patient, healthcare provider, caregiver—has information and needs information in order to make the best decisions possible under the circumstances. After studying and writing about the topics of communication and cancer for many years separately, authors Lisa Sparks and Anna Leahy combine their expertise in this new tour de force. Here, they apply principles from the field of health communication to the cancer care experience, drawing from a wide range of scholarship to offer a comprehensive view of cancer care communication and extend existing work into new insights. Engaging chapters cover all phases of the journey through cancer, from prevention to recovery or end-of-life; analyze the roles of the variety of cultural and social identities and relationships; and explore written, verbal, non-verbal, and electronic communication. In addition, this book draws from the real-life stories of cancer patients themselves to enrich the book’s unique discussions and to better understand how theory can be put into practice. Conversing with Cancer is ideal for use in health communication classes, medical and nursing programs, and formal caregiver training. In addition, it is useful for cancer patient and caregiver supports groups and for individual providers, patients, and caregivers.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Sparks, Lisa, author. | Leahy, Anna, author. Title: Conversing with cancer: how to ask questions, find and share information, and make the best decisions / Lisa Sparks and Anna Leahy. Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2018. Series: Language as social action; vol. 22 | ISSN 1529-2436 Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017030332 | ISBN 978-1-4331-3354-1 (hardback: alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4331-3353-4 (paperback: alk. paper) | ISBN 978-1-4331-3900-0 (ebook pdf) ISBN 978-1-4331-3901-7 (epub) | ISBN 978-1-4331-3902-4 (mobi) Subjects: LCSH: Cancer—Social aspects. Cancer—Psychological aspects. Communication in medicine. Classification: LCC RC262 .S64 | DDC 362.19699/4—dc23 LC record available at DOI 10.3726/b13286

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

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