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Women's experiences of cervical cellular changes: An unintentional transition from health to liminality?
Department of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, Department of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, 23300 SE-141 83 Huddinge, Sweden.
Department of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, Stockholms Sjukhem Foundation, R. and D. Unit, Sweden.
Department of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of International Health, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, The Tema Institute.
2004 (English)In: Sociology of Health and Illnes, ISSN 0141-9889, Vol. 26, no 3, 306-325 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cervical cancer screening is a preventive intervention directed towards women to both detect cervical cancer and identify those at risk for developing this disease. It has been argued that participation in screening programmes and early detection situations may lead to new kinds of sickness experiences. This article is based on qualitative phenomenological hermeneutical analysis of interviews with women who have received abnormal Pap smear test results through a population-based outreach screening programme in urban Sweden. The aim of this article is to illuminate the meaning, for the participating women, of the lived experience of receiving notification about an abnormal Pap smear result. The data are presented in terms of two themes: Pap smear for routine and recurrent confirmation of health and unexpected and ambiguous communication about Pap smear results. The findings are discussed as an unintentional transition from confirmation of health to liminality. Whereas medical diagnosis has been discussed as structuring the inchoate, an abnormal Pap smear did not create order for the interviewed women. On the contrary, the notification of an abnormal Pap smear created disorder as the women had expected to be confirmed as healthy but instead neither health nor disease were confirmed or excluded. Even 'simple' technology is shown to have an ontological dimension, with the ability to transform daily taken-for-grantedness of ourselves as primarily healthy to (potentially) unhealthy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 26, no 3, 306-325 p.
Keyword [en]
Medical technology, Pap smear, Phenomenological hermeneutics, Prevention, Screening
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-45773DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2004.00392.xOAI: diva2:266669
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2011-01-12

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Sachs, Lisbeth
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