Cancer Patients, Cancer Pathways: Historical and Sociological Perspectives
The eleven essays in this volume examine cancer research and treatment as everyday practice in post-war Europe and North America. Rather than writing ... Show synopsis The eleven essays in this volume examine cancer research and treatment as everyday practice in post-war Europe and North America. Rather than writing cancer's history as that of inevitable progress and obstacles overcome, these scholars emphasize how contingency, politics, and institutional interests have informed approaches to research and treatment. Focusing on the interface between individual patient trajectories and the evolving routines of research, therapy and care, the contributors bring together ethnographically-inflected historical and sociological observation with technically well-informed accounts of encounters between patients and professionals. The picture that emerges is one of cancers rather than Cancer, of patients rather than 'The Patient', and of medical practices that are both experimental and routine. As cancer treatment has come to epitomize biomedicine, these essays speak to readers interested more broadly in understanding patients' experiences with large institutions, sophisticated technologies, and clinical research, and the way these experiences can shape treatment policies.