Department of Sociology and Social Work

Research project by SocMap - Sociological Mapping

Local Proximity in Pediatric Cancer Treatment

Local Proximity in Pediatric Cancer Treatment

The PhD project aims at studying the potential social and medical consequences of distance between residence and place of treatment for children with cancer and their families.

Last modified: 03.01.2022

In the existing literature, it is well-known that when a child has cancer it has a lot of different negative, social consequences for both the sick child and the family. Both the child itself and the family can experience a higher level of stress, depressive symptoms and in general poorer mental health. At the same time, it often affects the employment status and income of the parents. However, the sense of distance between residence and place of treatment in this context is almost never included. This is the focus of my project. I will investigate if the distance between place of treatment and residence can have different negative causes for people living closely compared to people living far away. In other words, if the centralization of health services can cause regional inequality. At the same time, I am going to study whether some groups, experiences a longer distance between residence and place of treatment as more demanding, and thereby have a higher risk of experiencing the negative consequences. In this way, I am going to study whether a longer distance to place of treatment is going to increase the social inequality.

Regarding data, the project will be carried out with a combination of register data and qualitative interviews with parents of children with cancer. With the register data it is possible to create a statistically generalizable overview of potential negative consequences and in this way the hypotheses can be tested. In the interviews the wellbeing and experiences of the parents will be explored, and this makes it possible to get a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the everyday life of the families. Here, concepts such as social support and place attachment are going to be involved to study whether these can help to explain why families that look alike in the register data handle the situation differently.

The project is conducted by SocMap PhD fellow Cecilie Møller Høymark and takes place in collaboration with Aalborg University Hospital. SocMap member Professor Anja Jørgensen is main supervisor.


PhD fellow Cecilie Møller Høymark, e-mail:


  • Co-financed PhD fellowship (Aalborg University & The North Denmark Region)
  • Funding: The North Denmark Region 1.188.154 DKK, Aalborg University: 870.000 DKK. Total 2.058.154 DKK.
  • Effective start/end date: 1 January 2022 → 31 December 2024
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