Paper short abstract:
Malnutrition is common among cancer patients, but often not a focus of the doctor. Caregivers and cancer patients seek to gain agency by turning to food as a form of medicine when facing cancer. This article explores the challenges faced in, the midst of, contradicting strategies and information.
Paper long abstract:
Malnutrition is common among cancer patients. According to numerous studies published insufficient nutrition is a major concern in the treatment of cancer patients. A recent small study among doctors in Denmark, points out that if doctors focused more on nutrition lives could be saved (Onkologisk Tidskrift, 7 October, 2017). In my fieldwork to date I have participated in cooking classes for cancer patients, spent time with caregivers and cancer patients and found that many seek to gain agency by turning to food as a form of medicine when facing cancer. These same caregivers and patients are faced with conflicting information and are challenged when trying to maneuver through the information available to them at the clinic, in the media, online on e.g. the Danish website www.cancer.dk and in articles related to cancer and cancer self-help books. I have recently expanded my fieldwork to an oncology ward at a Danish hospital. I will be following doctors as they do their rounds, I will be spending hours with the cancer patients as they receive their chemo therapy and I will spend time with nurses and the affiliated dietitian. This article draws on my fieldwork and explores the challenges faced when caring for a cancer patient in, the midst of, contradicting nutritional strategies and information.
Food as medicine: biosocialities of eating in health and illness