AZ Pediatría
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Vol. 14 - Num. 56

Special Articles

The look of the cinema to cancer (I): art, science and consciousness

Javier González de Diosa, M Tasso Cerecedab, B Ogando Díazc

aServicio de Pediatría. Hospital General Universitario de Alicante. Departamento de Pediatría. Universidad Miguel Hernández. ISABIAL-Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria y Biomédica de Alicante. Alicante. España.
bServicio de Pediatría, Unidad de Oncología Pediátrica. Hospital General Universitario de Alicante. Magíster en Bioética y en Medicina Humanitaria. Alicante. España.
cMédico de Familia. CS Casa de Campo. Magíster en Bioética y en Cuidados Paliativos. Madrid. España.

Correspondence: J González. E-mail:

Reference of this article: González de Dios J, Tasso Cereceda M, Ogando Díaz B. The look of the cinema to cancer (I): art, science and consciousness. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2012;14:e41-e55.

Published in Internet: 17-12-2012 - Visits: 41654


The aim of this article is to review the presence of oncological pathologies in the cinema with a view to identifying the main cancer disorders that have been portrayed in films. Likewise it also intends to describe the medical praxis that is employed, the relationship between physician and patient, how the experiences of the patient and the family are represented, the adaptation to social situations, and the intervention of other health care professionals related with cancer patients.

Some of the most significant films about adulthood cancer are reviewed. A representative sample of 41 films was analyzed in which the cancer had a “prompt” (2 films), a “relevant” (22 films) or a “plot” character (11 films).

Cinema has helped to shape certain ways of thinking about the health care professionals who work with patients, the importance of support from the family and the social role, among other things. The cancer showed by films is, sometimes, different from reality: movies prefer younger patients, higher social class and the most photogenic cancer’s locations. The symptoms, diagnostic tests and treatments tend to reflect reality, especially in “plot” movies produced in the last decades. Some of those films may be a first hand resource for training health professionals.

Cinema is an opportunity to talk with art, science and consciousness about oncological diseases; cinema is a tool to talk about cancer patients and their environment. Cinema is an opportunity to improve the relationship between health professionals and patients, to improve the humanization and to open the bioethical debate.


Cancer Disease Motion pictures as a topic Oncology Physician-patient relationship Social context



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