Print version ISSN 1555-7960
NUNEZ, Marta. Speaking from experience: today's Cuban women and breast cancer. MEDICC rev. [online]. 2012, vol.14, n.2, pp.10-12. ISSN 1555-7960. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1555-79602012000200004.
Over 2200 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually in Cuba, and a decade ago I became one of them. Late in 2000, I underwent breast cancer surgery at the National Oncology and Radiology Institute in the Cuban capital. My experience-both with the disease and as a sociologist at the University of Havana studying gender relations-serves as the basis for the following essay. The article characterizes today's Cuban women, particularly those of us with or at risk of breast cancer, and describes my own and others' responses to our disease. My aim is to provide insights useful to the physicians, nurses, engineers, physicists, technicians, and service and administrative workers in Cuba's health services who interact with us, whose increased awareness will make us feel more deeply understood and respected. In this context, I also refl ect on the Cuban media's portrayal of cancer, with recommendations for dismantling the biases of fatalism and even pity often conveyed.
Keywords : Cancer; breast cancer; survivorship; physicianpatient relations; professional education; Cuba.