Grammatica e metafore in medicina


This article, divided into two main parts, addresses the question of communication between patient and physician. In the first part I lay out some background by underscoring the therapeutic implications of the patient-physician relation, especially when caring for cancer patients. For all the great advances that modern medicine has made, it often tends to overlook the way the emotions and the intellect can shape our experience of an illness. In fact, while much of the focus falls on the illness itself, and the treatment is arrived at by talking about patients, there is less of an emphasis on talking with patients, whose history and background never comes to light unless the physician is there to listen. The objective of "personalized medicine" is replaced with that of "precision medicine" or "personalized therapy," in which the emphasis on disease and therapy crowds out the patient's lived experience of the disease. In the second part, the discussion shifts to the question of language, taking both everyday and specialised language into account as forms of speech reflecting social and cultural attitudes to medicine and disease. Specifically, we will look at some metaphorical representations of cancer. The discussion draws on the work of Susan Sontag, who underscores how medical metaphors can give rise to stigmas and moralistic stereotypes, and the view will be taken that while this is a fruitful analysis, less convincing is her biomedical reductionism, which tends to overlook the relational dimension of care.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i17201632vXXn35-36p79

Keywords: therapeutic relationship; Medical Humanities; personalized medicine; illness experience; medical metaphors

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