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Courtney Moore ENC 1102: Professor Wolcott April 18, 2014 Genre Analysis: Oncology Forms

When you begin to look at the definition of genre we begin to think that its a category that other items can be grouped with and placed within. Amy Devitt, a professor at the University of Kansas, defines genre as a response to recurring rhetorical situations which was originally derived from Carolyn Miller, in other words, a situation where communication between two things takes place. (Devitt, 573). Devitt also talks about discourse communities in her articles. In laymens terms, discourse community is just a group of people with a common goal through the same use of language. An example of this would be patient intake forms for oncology. The forms that I have as an example (appendix A, B and C) are patient forms that the doctor fills out when the patient has been diagnosed with colon, lung, or breast cancer for the start of chemotherapy. When reviewing these different forms depending on the type of cancer detected in the patient, you can conclude that a variety of people may see this particular form. Some of those people include, the initial doctor who diagnosed the patient, the patient, the oncologist who administers the chemotherapy, health care providers, the family of the patient, alternative facilities if the patient transfers, and perhaps scientists/ researchers if the case is required to be studied. These forms are very busy to the eye and filled with a plethora of information that the doctor must fill out so that the patient can begin chemo treatments. The claim made by selecting this type of genre is how these forms are able to be tied into the community discourse that we surround ourselves in today.

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When comparing these three forms of diagnosing the patient with either breast cancer, lung cancer, or colon cancer we can first start at the way each form is written. All of the forms are bolded where it starts a new topic and all require some sort of patient history and information that should be completed prior to starting the treatments. Within a medical discourse community, such as oncology, we can see the presence of words that may be unfamiliar to people who are not associated with any medical experience. These foreign terms can be referred to as lexis. People who have no experience with the medical field (i.e. patients) may hear the doctors using such words as axillary dissection (appendix C: breast cancer) which may easily frighten them because they do not have any idea what the doctor is talking about. In reality the doctor is saying that they will be conducting a procedure in which they cut into the armpit and remove the lymph node which may be infected with cancer. Initially, the doctor is asked to fill out the type of treatment plan each patient should receive depending on what each is diagnosed with. All of the forms for the most part have the same structure within; however, the form for lung cancer is the only form that asks what type of symptoms the patient is exhibiting. In my opinion I believe all three forms should ask what type of symptoms each patient is experiencing because I have personal experience with all three types through my own family. With the inside knowledge I do know due to the chemo my grandmother had to receive with the cancers she was diagnosed with, I know all three types of cancers can have side effects and symptoms laced within. What I find interesting when comparing all three types of forms is that within the texts is the presence of a legal release. This release basically states that the doctor and medical staff are not responsible for any type of wrong information initially given when filling out the form. Believe it or not but sometime patients are not entirely truthful when it comes to filling out

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intake forms about personal or background information. In these cases, doctors may take the necessary steps in medical procedures as needed but something could go wrong with the patient due to the fact that that patient was not completely honest when initially filling out the form. When we dive into the medical field we have the urge to compare medicine versus society. What I mean by this is when we are looking at the oncology forms, we do not see any place for the doctor to give positive information. An argument that can be made here is that the role of the doctor and patient is often skewed. Doctors often exhibit and show no emotion toward that patients feeling. Its all hard core information that is usually blunt and straight to the point, never sugar coated. So why is it when we are in the hospital or under medical care that our loved ones say stay positive yet the doctor offers no such encouragement? When the doctor is taking information down to complete the necessary form, he/she may ask the patient how they feel, expecting to be told symptoms and what is wrong within their body. They arent expecting to hear that youre not feeling well today. Doctors in most cases when filling out oncology forms are usually grim and entirely focused on administering chemotherapy to the diagnosed patient. Most doctors do not consider your emotional feeling while filling out the forms and do their best to stay detached from the patient. The reason for this may be that it is harder to lose a patient when you are more attached to one rather than if you treat them equally to every other patient that is seen. Another reason behind this apathetic behavior, in other words no emotion or concern for the feelings of the patient, is primarily due to the fact that the doctor needs to be focused on the diagnosis and results of the patients tests. Doctors are trained to be optimistic in such cases as treating patients with cancer because it will help them stay strong in tough situations so that a decision can be easily made.

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In closing, we see how each form simplifies the communication between the patient, doctor, and radiation oncologist administering the chemotherapy treatments. Doctors use a series of lexis that are different from the terms everyday people who arent associated with the medical field may use. By this, patients may be more worrisome to the terms and languages doctors communicate with because the diagnosis sounds worse than it really may be. The forms the doctors fill out for the patient, to be more specific, oncology forms, are created to better the communication between doctor and patient and make it easier for information to be transferred faster from one party to the other with the patient information that may be important at the necessary time. Doctors are detached from patients as so they do not become too emotionally involved, but is it too much to ask to offer some encouragement to the sick and potentially critical patient? Sometimes a little encouragement and positive attitude is all the patient needs to kick cancers butt!

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(See attached forms)

Appendix A- colon cancer form

Appendix B- lung cancer form

Appendix C- breast cancer form

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"Medical Forms." Cancer.Net. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2014. <http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancercare/managing-your-care/medical-forms>

Devitt, Amy J. Generalizing about Genre: New Conceptions of an old Concept. College Composition and Communication. Vol 44. 1993. Pg 573-584. Print