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Cancer and emotions

12.07.23 – 08.09.24

An exhibition of the Berlin Museum of Medical History

Go to the virtual exhibition

Cancer triggers fear. The successes of modern cancer medicine have not changed this. And this is likely to remain the case in the future. Cancer develops unnoticed in the body as an existential threat. Sometimes it grows for years without being detected. Untreated, the disease is usually fatal.

But is the fear that people have felt and still feel in the face of cancer actually the same fear everywhere and at all times? And what role do other emotions play, such as anger, shame, will to live, courage, disgust, despair, guilt, loneliness, confidence and hope?

The exhibition explores these feelings. In doing so, it addresses feelings not only as subjective, personal sensations. Cultural-historical exhibits, scientific objects, interactive media stations and film interviews make visible how strongly feelings are shaped by social norms and moral concepts. In the 20th century, expectations about feelings have changed in the confrontation with cancer.

The tour illustrates this change and invites visitors to also reflect on their own feelings and their cultural imprint.


Contributed by

  • Logo Deutsche Krebshilfe
  • Logo Stiftung Deutsche Krebsgesellschaft
  • Logo Charité Universitätsmedizin