Publication details [#14351]

Gustafsson, Anna W., Charlotte Hommerberg and Anna Sandgren. 2019. Coping by Metaphors: The Versatile Function of Metaphors in Blogs about Living with Advanced Cancer. Journal of Medical Humanities : 1–11. 11 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Institute of Medical Ethics


People suffering from cancer can experience fear of loss, suffering and dying. As we think it is necessary to understand how they make sense of their lives and manage to combat the problems arising from this situation, this paper explores the use of metaphors in blogs by people affected by this illness. Our theoretical background is Conceptual Metaphor Theory, which considers metaphors as useful devices that both reflect and our thinking. We compare this approach with psychological theories of coping and are able to draw differences between the three most common metaphor domains used: battle, journey, and imprisonment. We strongly feel that healthcare experts can improve their communication with patients if they understand these metaphors and the implications of their use.