Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Lori Roscoe, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ambar Basu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Abraham Khan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donileen Loseke, Ph.D.


subjectivity, health care, diagnosis, American Cancer Society, narrative, medicine


Cancer patients report having a high need for cancer information. Several studies show that the majority of patients surveyed report preferring information from the American Cancer Society (ACS). Ranging up to 129 pages, the ACS’ Detailed Guides (DG) are widely distributed throughout the United States, and offer patients an authoritative guide to help patients navigate the difficult terrain of the cancer journey. This dissertation examines the ACS’ cervical, endometrial, ovarian, penile, prostate, testicular, and vaginal cancer guides. Through a rhetorical analysis of the 7 guides, it was shown that the ACS DGs in question foster gendered narratives that strictly limit the type, range, and quality of information offered to cancer patients. These limitations and their resulting exclusions pose serious risks of misinformation and isolation among vulnerable patient populations with high information needs. Three recommendations are offered to help mitigate the issues identified within the ACS DGs, to improve the quality of information offered in the DGs, and to subsequently help improve patient quality of life.