Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations
Chapter Twenty-Four: “Isn’t All Oncology Hermeneutic?”
“Isn’t All Oncology Hermeneutic?”
NANCY J. MOULES, DAVID W. JARDINE, GRAHAM MCCAFFREY, & CHRISTOPHER BROWN
The impetus for this paper arose during an Alberta Children’s Hospital pediatric oncology research day in November 2012 in Calgary, Alberta, where dedicated researchers presented the work they were currently conducting in efforts to cure, treat, and make sense of childhood cancer. Most of the research presented was that of bench and natural science, understanding the progression of tumours, the impact of radiation on mice, randomized control trials, or evidence of the potential of a new chemotherapeutic agent. Dr. Nancy Moules, Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and Research Institute Nursing Professorship in Child and Family Centred Cancer Care, presented her research on understanding the impact of childhood cancer on lives and relationships, and her research approach of hermeneutics. In this context with this audience, it is a shared understanding that there is a very human experience of cancer and an appreciation that bench science offers one way of knowing that must be translated into another kind of knowing that is handled in the day-to-day practical decisions, judgments about, and interactions with those undergoing such experiences. Cancer is readily understood as an affliction that can affect all aspects of a person’s life, a phenomenon replete with complex and often contradictory cultural, historical, and personal/familial understandings, assumptions, hopes, fears, and expectations. There exists a whole world of lived experience that precedes bench science and provides it with the contexts of...
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