Cancer’s unwritten rules

Cancer patients’ lives are shaped as much by social norms as by the biology of their disease. GreenHouse and the Susan Poorman Blackie Foundation have partnered to develop the first-ever catalog of those norms – specifically, the social norms related to ovarian cancer.

Findings of our nationwide qualitative research – conducted through interviews with patients, their families and healthcare providers – can be accessed online throughout the process via The Ovarian Cancer Project. One example:  “For many women, the first signs of ovarian cancer don’t seem like medical symptoms at all. They show up as disruptions of their routines in diet, exercise, and lifestyle — areas where our culture often expects them to be fully competent managers of their own health.”

GreenHouse was enlisted in this research by Buck Dodson, SPB’s president and executive director. The effort is part of our portfolio of work furthering the translation of social determinants of health into improvements in the health care system. Our portfolio also includes our publication Health Plus Social and the graduate nursing program at the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.