chapter  2
The Psychogenesis of Cancer in France: Controlling Uncertainty by Searching for Causes
Pages 15

The exploration of suffering can illuminate how people interpret their lived experiences in relation to the social world. In contemporary French society, for example, the majority of people believe that mental and emotional processes, the experience of psychic traumas, and the stresses of modern life can cause cancer or impact the development of the disease. The results of the Baromètre du cancer survey conducted in 2010 on a cohort of 3,120 people over 15 years of age showed that most people in France believe that the following factors certainly or probably contribute to the occurrence of cancer: the “stress of modern life” (73.3% of the respondents), having been “perturbed by previous painful experiences” (60.9%), being “embittered by emotional or professional disappointments” (49%), or not managing to express one’s emotions (38.9%) (Perretti-Watel, Amsellem & Beck, 2012). These fi gures had changed very little since the previous survey conducted on similar lines in 2005, in which it was observed that only 18.8% of the respondents did not agree that psychological problems are liable to infl uence the occurrence of cancer (Peretti-Watel, 2006).