Mind the Body discusses the meaning of the body in health and medicine today.

Welcome to Mind the Body, an online platform dedicated to discussing issues that relate to “the body” in health and medicine. In the medical world there is little to no room for the various ways patients experience their treated, and often changed, bodies. This platform hopes to garner attention for the way people with disfigurements and disabilities – with a focus on cancer patients – endow meaning to their bodily existence.

This platform is established as a spin-off of the five-year research project Bodily Integrity in Blemished Bodies, which runs from 2011 until 2016 and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), in the form of a Vidi grant. It serves to share our findings and insights, and to further develop research and valorization of ideas which aim at improving health and medical practices on the basis of our findings.

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECT

BODILY INTEGRITY IN BLEMISHED BODIES

    This research project seeks to explore how people with acquired disfigurements and disabilities experience their own, but radically changed, bodies; and whether and how they habituate to them.

      It addresses the following questions:

How do cancer survivors identify with their changed body after disease and treatment? Do they still experience a sense of bodily wholeness, or has this diminished? What aspects hinder and/or facilitate the process of re-identification? How do cancer survivors deal and respond to such bodily changes?

So far, we have completed 5 studies:

Responding to scars after breast surgery

For this study, we have interviewed 19 women who had undergone a surgical treatment – either a breast amputation or a breast saving operation – after they were diagnosed with breast cancer (in an early stage).

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Blogging and Breast Cancer

For this study, we have analysed 5 blogs
from women who write about their experience
of having breast cancer.

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The surprise of a breast reconstruction:
A longitudinal phenomenological study of
women’s expectations about reconstructive surgery.

For this study, we have conducted 26 in-depth interviews with 7 women at different
stages (before reconstruction, 3 months after reconstruction and 1 year after
reconstruction) and 3 women 5 years after reconstruction.

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Facing a Disruptive Face: Disfigurement and disability
as a function of embodied selves,
prostheses and contexts
.

For this study, we have conducted interviews
with 24 people who use a
facial prosthetic device.

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Exploring novel dimensions of body experience after breast reconstruction.

For this study, we have interviewed 5 women
who had a breast reconstruction with an implant and
13 women who had a breast reconstruction with their own body tissue.

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PATIENTS’ VOICES

While clicking the following pictures you can read what various patients we interviewed said about their changed body: their experiences, their hopes, and their dealings with it. To protect our respondents’ anonymity, names and pictures are fictitious.

“When I meet women who are missing a breast, I wonder if they are still able to experience a sense of bodily wholeness. In my research I want to offer these women the opportunity to describe this. I want to create an open forum to discuss this bodily experience.”
Jenny Slatman
“My aim is to demand attention for embodiment in health and medicine (…) You can view the body as a thing, but it also has an entirely different dimension: you not only have it, you are it. That is what my research tends to cover; how people experience their bodies.”
Jenny Slatman

OUR RESEARCH OUTPUT

Research is more than writing papers for academic journals. But publishing is a great part of our work that we want to share with you. If you are interested in one of our publications that cannot be downloaded here, please contact us.

English publications

  • J. Slatman(2011): The meaning of body experience valuation in oncology. Health Care Analysis pp. 295-311 Download
  • J. Slatman(2012): Phenomenology of Bodily Integrity in Disfiguring Breast Cancer. Hypathia pp. 281-300 Download
  • M. Moraal, J. Slatman, A. Pieters, A. Mert, G. Widdershoven (2013): A virtual rehabilitation program after amputation.Disability and Rehabilitation. Assistive Technology. pp. 511-515
  • J. Slatman(2014): Multiple dimensions of embodiment in medical practices. Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy pp. 549-557 Download
  • M.L. De Boer, J. Slatman(2014): Blogging and breast cancer. Women’s Studies International Forum pp. 17-25 Download
  • Slatman, J. & G. Yaron (2014). Towards A Phenomenology of Disfigurement. In K. Zeiller and L. Käll (eds.), Feminist Phenomenology and Medicine, Albany: SUNY Press: 223-240 Download
  • Slatman, J., A. Halsema & A. Meershoek (2015). Responding to scars after breast surgery. Qualitative Health Research. DOI: 10.1177/1049732315591146
  • Slatman, J. & Widdershoven, G. (2015). An Ethics of Embodiment: The Body as Object and Subject. In D. Meacham (Ed.). Medicine and Society, New Perspectives in Continental Philosophy. Dordrecht, Heidelberg, New York, London: Springer. p. 87-104 Download
  • M.L. de Boer, R. van der Hulst & J. Slatman (2015). The surprise of a breast reconstruction: A longitudinal phenomenological study to women’s expectations about reconstructive surgery. accepted for publication in Human Studies. 38 (3): 409-430 Download
  • T. Leunissen, M. de Boer, R. van der Hulst & J. Slatman (accepted) Exploring new dimensions in embodiment after implant based and autologous breast reconstruction. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery -JPRAS
  • J. Slatman (accepted) Is it possible to ‘incorporate’ a scar? Revisiting a basic concept in phenomenology. Human Studies

Dutch publications

  • J. Slatman(2011): Lichaamsbeeld. Onderzoek naar de lichaamsbeleving van (ex)kankerpatiëntenKWF Kankerbestrijding Kracht pp. 10-12 Download
  • G. Yaron(2012): Leven met een ander gezicht. Nieuwsbrief van de vereniging Oog in Oog pp. 14-15y. pp. 511-515
  • G. Yaron(2012): Werken aan een gaaf gelaat. Kijk anders, zie meer pp. 47-60 , Den Haag Download
  • M.L. De Boer(2013): Tepelloze activisten. Filosofie Magazine Download
  • J. Slatman(2012): Aandacht voor lichaamservaring binnen de oncologie. Psychosociale Oncologie pp. 30-31
  • J. Slatman (2013). Lichamelijkheid in medische praktijken. De verschillende’betekenissen van ‘het lichaam’ in M. Schermer, M. Boenink en G. Meynen (Eds.): Komt een filosoof bij de dokter pp. 49-62 , Amsterdam. Download
  • Slatman, J. (2015). Zelf beschikken, samen beslissen over het eigen lichaam. In Th. Wobbes & M. van den Muijsenbergh (red.) Baas over eigen lichaam? Dilemma’s rond zelfbeschikking en gezondheid. Valkhof Pers. pp. 59-74 Download
  • Slatman, J., Halsema, A. & A. Meershoek (2015). Omgaan met de gevolgen van een borstoperatie. Oncologica. Tijdschrift voor oncologieverpleegkundigen en verpleegkundigen specialisten oncologie. 32(3): p. 30-33 Download