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Supportive oncology care: a resource unequally mobilized to cope with cancer Volume 41, issue 4, Décembre 2023

Authors
* Anthropologue, Département de sociologie, 1 rue Lavoisier, 76821 Rouen, France ;
** Ingénieure de recherche en santé publique, Faculté de médecine, Université de Tours, 60 rue du Plat d’Étain, 37020 Tours Cedex 1, France ;
*** PHD, HDR santé publique, Faculté de médecine, Université de Tours, 60 rue du Plat d’Étain, 37020 Tours Cedex 1, France ;

While inequalities in cancer prevalence and survival have been well documented, less research has been devoted to access inequalities to supportive cancer care. Access to this care, which contributes to improving quality of life, is nevertheless a health equity issue. Considering how people suffering from cancer mobilize these resources, we analyze the inequalities in access to this care. The methodology combines observations and in-depth interviews in the Centre-Val de Loire. The results show significant heterogeneities in access to supportive cancer care, which is offered according to the needs perceived by professionals and according to the ability of patients to communicate their needs. Disparities in access are rooted in different relationships to the disease, to medicine and to the healthcare system. While some people combine supportive care with various resources outside the hospital, others are satisfied with curative and specific treatment of their cancer. Positioned in a marginal and optional way, supportive cancer care is an adjustment variable and a key factor in the construction of social inequalities in the face of cancer.