Reading breast cancer: Reflections on a dangerous intersection

Dorothy Broom*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)


    Because breast is the most common female cancer, it is no surprise that it has prompted lobbying and extensive clinical research. Many women have written autobiographical accounts of their diagnosis and treatment, but there has been little effort to apply the perspectives of feminist or other social theory to our understandings of breast cancer. I propose that breast cancer is located at a meeting point between (at least) four sets of discourses and practices: those relevant to all life-threatening illness, those surrounding most or all cancers, those informing female-specific conditions and conditions of the breast specifically. This article considers how each of those domains defines and informs experiences of breast cancer and its treatment. I offer a reflection on that four-way intersection, and a move towards specifying how sociocultural fears about death, disease, sexuality and femininity converge to isolate and silence women who are diagnosed, to frame their choices and experiences, and to shape their stories.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)249-268
    Number of pages20
    JournalHealth (United Kingdom)
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001


    Dive into the research topics of 'Reading breast cancer: Reflections on a dangerous intersection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this