Arki ei pysähdy: Tutkimus elämästä rinta- ja eturauhassyövän kanssa

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles


This doctoral dissertation explores everyday life with breast and prostate cancer from the perspectives of the ill and loved ones. The study focuses on how people with breast and prostate cancer signify cancer and their everyday life and how to conceptualise daily life with cancer.

The research material consists of written narratives by people with breast and prostate cancer and loved ones. The data were gathered in 2009 through a public call for written narratives of ‘everyday life with breast and prostate cancer’, and the call was directed at people diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones. In total, 37 people decided to participate in the study. Of the participants, 21 wrote about breast cancer, and 11, about prostate cancer. Five of the responses were written by loved ones.

The study consists of four sub-studies and a conclusion section, where a theoretical frame of everyday life with cancer is approached from the perspectives of tensions, facets of temporality, space, modalities and the demarcation of private and public, where socio-cultural and bodily aspects are present. In the theoretical frame, cancer is approached as an outsider to everyday life that threatens its ordinary structures.

The first sub-study explores how cancer constructs the everyday lives of women with breast cancer and shows how daily life is divided into temporal dimensions where daily life, time and social relationships get multiple meanings. The second substudy scrutinises how the presence of death is constructed and controlled in everyday life with cancer and how death is controlled through certain frames and activities maintained in the frames. The third sub-study explores how sexuality is described in everyday life with cancer and how normative discourses are maintained and deconstructed in everyday life. The fourth sub-study explores how agency is constructed in everyday life with breast and prostate cancer in relation to daily activities and habits and how agency can be created differently in stable, fragile or recreated forms. The contributions of the sub-studies and their meta-analysis continue the conceptualisation process of daily life with cancer.

The results of the study indicate how everyday life with breast and prostate cancer get significance and structure through five conceptual aspects: concrete, social, temporal, bodily and political everydayness. Concrete everyday life consists of routines that people undertake and spaces where they operate in. The social aspect of the everyday life means social reflections of how cancer affects social interactions and identities in daily life. The temporality in everyday life constructs on rhythms, which help to signify and structure the meaning of time in daily life. The embodiment of daily life means that the body is the actual medium or vehicle of daily living which senses the illness. The political aspect of daily life with cancer is connected to political agency and the ways private and public politics connect and collide in everyday life.

The results highlight how cancer manifests itself in daily life as an outsider that threatens ordinary habits and obligations. Everyday life also helps to tame cancer when, among concrete, social, temporal, bodily and political aspects, the meanings of illness change in daily life. However, cancer does not vanish from daily life. The construction of the illness experience is tightly connected to the context of everyday life where biomedical diagnoses get their meanings. The study offers conceptual tools for scrutinising everyday life with cancer. The results of the study can be utilised when improving psychosocial support and services directed to people living with cancer.
Original languageFinnish
Place of PublicationTampere
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-03-1561-0
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (articles)

Publication series

NameTampere University Dissertations - Tampereen yliopiston väitöskirjat
ISSN (Print)2489-9860
ISSN (Electronic)2490-0028


  • arjen käsitteellistäminen
  • arjen poliittisuus
  • arjen rytmit
  • arki
  • kirjoitukset
  • läheiset
  • rinta- ja eturauhassyöpä
  • ruumiillisuus
  • sosiaalinen heijastuminen
  • sosiaalityö
  • syöpään sairastuminen
  • syöpään sairastumisen merkitykset

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