Narrative medicine applications for neuro-oncology patient identity and quality of life

Robert B. Slocum, John L. Villano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: We explore the applications of Narrative Medicine (NM) in the clinical care of brain cancer patients whose self-identity and quality of life are challenged by their disease and treatment. This paper considers how NM may help patients retain and rediscover self-identity during treatment. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of NM sessions at our institution in 2016 with focus on life perspectives and priorities along with outlook or attitude and any changes in their symptoms and possible impact on their lives. Results: The narratives shared by four brain cancer patients provided examples of loss of self-identity during illness and treatment, along with ways that NM sessions encouraged patient resilience and discovery of meaning. Conclusions: NM sessions made visible contributions for the patients mentioned in these case studies. Understanding the patient's story is critical for evaluating the significance of impairments due to brain cancer and treatment relative to the patient's unique sense of self and quality of life. NM is at the nexus of clinical management and quality of life concerns for brain cancer patients. Insights from NM sessions may also help the treatment team as they assess patient needs, attitudes, and abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-12
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Brain tumor
  • Glioblastoma
  • Medical humanities
  • Narrative medicine
  • Quality of life
  • Resilience
  • Self-identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Narrative medicine applications for neuro-oncology patient identity and quality of life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this