Stories of Suffering with Leprosy and Cancer in Korea

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The authors in this article tell the story of the experience of suffering of three persons with cancer in South Korea. Two of the stories are about men who early in their lives were diagnosed with Leprosy (Hansen's disease) and forced to live most of their lives in a prison- like treatment facility. The third story is of a woman with advanced cancer who ended up in a similar place because she lost both of her children and husband. Parse's humanbecoming theory and thoughts on human dignity provide the theoretical perspective for this discussion. The conclusion of the article is that largely because of ignorance and fear, people with Hansen's disease in Korea, as elsewhere, suffer a unique form of betrayal and shame; what they deserve is honor and reverence as they struggle to retain a sense of awe about being human.

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