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Stephanie Osbakken in ‘Cancerland’

Oct. 9, 2023

This blog is authored by Eugenio Sobrevilla, an education and outreach volunteer with Dell Medical School’s Livestrong Cancer Institutes.

After receiving her cancer diagnosis, Stephanie Osbakken, Ph.D., professor of sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, used her background as a sociologist to examine her own journey with the disease.

After months of chemotherapy and countless trips to the hospital, Osbakken overcame cancer and did what came naturally: She used her sociological background and analyzed her own journey with cancer and put the two together. She created a class called “Cancerland” and now teaches young minds to approach cancer from a different perspective. “I think that my students create the environment; they’re wanting to really talk about hard things,” Osbakken says. “I would say the young generation, I think, is better equipped to have conversations that are difficult and that are hard.”

In the latest episode of the Livestrong Cancer Institutes’ Cancer Uncovered podcast (listen on Spotify or Apple), Osbakken shares not only her own experience with a cancer diagnosis but also gives students insights about the history of cancer and cancer care in the U.S. and what students can do to make an impact. “Cancer’s role in our society is oftentimes not looked at from a sociological standpoint,” Osbakken says. “Rather, we approach cancer through a research and biographical lens; however, there is so much more to it than meets the eye.”

Hear More

To hear more about careers in cancer, cancer research and advances in cancer care, subscribe to the Cancer Uncovered podcast by the Livestrong Cancer Institutes. Share and take a listen every month, on Spotify or Apple.