In the context of cancer, humour and joking can still be seen as socially unacceptable. Yet people with cancer can find relief in making light of their often life-threatening situations. How and why they do this has received little systematic attention to date. This paper begins to address this gap by exploring 530,055 words of online patient–patient interactions on a thread explicitly dedicated to humour within a UK-based cancer forum.
Affiliation: University College London
Zsófia Demjén is Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics, University College London. Her research interests include health communication, metaphor, and the intersections of language, mind and health(care). She is author of Sylvia Plath and the Language of Affective States: Written Discourse and the Experience of Depression (2015, Bloomsbury), co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language (2017) and her work has appeared in the Journal of Pragmatics, Applied Linguistics, Communication & Medicine, Medical Humanities, and Discourse Studies among others.