A DARKER RIBBON: A TWENTIETH-CENTURY STORY OF BREAST CANCER, by Ellen Leopold PDF

By Ellen Leopold

A Twentieth-Century tale of Breast melanoma, ladies, and Their DoctorsIn the 1st cultural heritage of breast melanoma, Ellen Leopold asks how sexual politics have formed the connection among sufferer and general practitioner, and the way a disorder lately shrouded in secrecy has develop into so public.

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Additional resources for A DARKER RIBBON: A TWENTIETH-CENTURY STORY OF BREAST CANCER, WOMAN, AND THEIR DOCTORS

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Their mixed parentagetheir fusion of the pious and the paganis something we clearly shy away from. Given this inheritance, it's not surprising to find that newly diagnosed women still have a fear of being stigmatized by their cancers. ", public exposure remains risky. Every new diagnosis stirs up all our primitive responses to the disease. Whether expressed or not, the continuing eruption of fear and its backlash in scapegoating are reminders of how unresolved these reactions still are. How much more dangerous, then, the revelation of breast cancer must have been 100 years ago, before modern medicine or modern psychology had even begun to challenge religion as the moral arbiter of disease.

But the photographs are also medically, as well as morally, obsolete. It is now rare for signs of disease in the breast to go untreated long enough for it to flaunt its deadliness in such a profusion of demonic shapes. In any case, it is representation of disease at the microscopic rather than macroscopic level that interests medical science today. The photographs nonetheless survive, a dark album of images that record the death-in-life so characteristic of this disease. Their subjects remain unnamed, the suffering they recall undocumented.

For most of the period covered in this book, women physicians constituted a significant if quite small minority of doctors (about 5 percent up to the 1970s). The history of government intervention in the fight against cancer is also given little space. Page 7 Rather, the story told here is based on a selective analysis of those aspects of the social history of the disease that have, in my opinion, contributed most over the past 100 years to the patient's understanding of and response to it. So although this book proceeds in a loosely chronological order, it is organized thematically rather than along a straight narrative path.

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