Cancer patients' negotiation of therapeutic options in Pakistan

Qual Health Res. 2007 May;17(5):652-62. doi: 10.1177/1049732307299994.


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Pakistan. There is increasing evidence that patients are using a range of (biomedical and nonbiomedical) therapeutic options for cancer treatment. To date there has been no sociologically informed research into the engagement of cancer patients in Pakistan with available modalities. In this article, the authors present findings from the first such study. They purposively sampled 46 cancer patients from four hospitals in Lahore and conducted semistructured interviews with them. They argue that individuals are actively mediating therapeutic possibilities by drawing on, and at times being constrained by, personal, social, and cultural resources. It is the authors' contention that this can be conceptualized by an appreciation of individuals' active engagement with three temporally and spatially specific dimensions: structural and practical constraint; pragmatic experimentation; and cultural and religious affiliation. The negotiation (and varying power) of these dimensions is crucial to the process.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Patient Participation / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Religion
  • Social Environment
  • Socioeconomic Factors