© 2000

Breast Cancer

Society Shapes an Epidemic

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Introduction

    1. Susan J. Ferguson, Anne S. Kasper
      Pages 1-22
  3. Breast Cancer Diagnoses And Treatment — The Historical Context

  4. Breast Cancer as a Social Problem

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 87-87
    2. The Economics of Breast Cancer

    3. Women, Their Bodies, and the Illness Experience

      1. Marcy E. Rosenbaum, Gun M. Roos
        Pages 153-181
    4. The Politics of Breast Cancer

      1. Carol S. Weisman
        Pages 213-243
      2. Sue V. Rosser
        Pages 245-270
      3. Sandra Steingraber
        Pages 271-299
  5. Breast Cancer and Social Change

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 301-301
    2. Jennifer R. Fosket, Angela Karran, Christine LaFia
      Pages 303-323
    3. Anne S. Kasper, Susan J. Ferguson
      Pages 355-373
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 374-388

About this book


Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic provides an innovative look at the social and political contexts of breast cancer and examines how this illness has become a social problem. This is not a book about breast cancer as a biological disease, its diagnosis and treatment, or the latest research to cure it. Rather, it looks at how economics, politics, gender, social class, and race-ethnicity have deeply influenced the science behind breast cancer research, spurred the growth of a breast cancer industry, generated media portrayals of women with the disease, and defined and influenced women s experiences with breast cancer. The contributors address the social construction of breast cancer as an illness and as an area of scientific controversy, advocacy, and public policy. Chapters on the history of breast cancer, the health care system, the environment, and the marketing of breast cancer, among others, tease apart the complex social forces that have shaped our collective and individual responses to breast cancer.


care environment gender health politics social change sociology women

About the authors

ANNE S. KASPER is Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

SUSAN J. FERGUSON is Associate Professor of Sociology at Grinnell College.

Bibliographic information


"A refreshing addition to the literature of breast cancer, this book contends that it is societal change as much as anything that will lead to better treatment and prevention of breast cancer" - Publishers Weekly

"This is not the first book to bring a feminist, social analysis to the issue of breast cancer and the activism it has inspired. It is, however, one of the best..." - Women's Review of Books

"...a trenchant analysis of the social, economic, and political dimensions of breast cancer..." - New England Journal of Medicine

...a very good book... writing is accessible, individual chapters are clear and pointed, and the book succeeds...

-Contemporary Sociology