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Social Psychological Aspects of Cancer in Modern Society 2244
Chulkova V.A., PhD in Psychology, senior researcher at the Petrov Research Institute of Oncology; associate professor at the Chair of Oncology, Mechnikov North-West State Medical University; associate professor at the Chair of Psychology of Crisis and Extreme Situations, St. Petersburg State University
Pestereva E.V., PhD in Psychology, research fellow at the Russian Research Center of Radiology and Surgical Technologies, Saint Petersburg
The paper discusses some research data evidencing high social relevance of cancer in modern society that affects attitudes towards the disease both in healthy and sick individuals. The findings of the research show that people's perceptions of cancer depend heavily on the patterns of thinking typical for their particular groups and are for the most part fragmentary, often with a mythical background to them. As it was revealed, personal experience of communicating with cancer patients has a significant effect on the individual's attitude to cancer, while the notions about cancer that exist in modern society contribute to the emergence of cancerophobia in persons experiencing high levels of anxiety, promote the stigmatization of cancer patients and reduce the number of people seeking medical advice on the early stages of their illness. The paper argues that providing people with full and trustworthy information about the disease and the challenges and opportunities of its treatment creates a context for the development of a responsible attitude in the individuals towards their health and improves psychological culture in the society in general.
Keywords: cancer, attitude to cancer in society, stigmatization of cancer patients, pro¬viding information, psychological culture in society
Column: Applied Research and Practice