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

By Ellen Leopold

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

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

Sample text

By the turn of the century, the radical mastectomy, as refined by William Stewart Halsted, first professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, had become the "gold standard," and survival rates following surgery appeared to improve. But the apparent success of radical treatment had as much to do with the benefits of earlier detection, a more careful selection of surgical candidates, and improvements in anaesthetic and pre- and postoperative care as with any curative powers of the surgery itself. Part Two illustrates the standard treatment at work.

The American Cancer Society, the original mastermind of this strategy, has never faltered, over three-quarters of a century, in its promotion of early detection. Their unwavering support has had a disproportionate influence on the public's awareness and understanding of the disease as well as on the strategies adopted by smaller, local organizations committed to similar goals. From its beginnings, women themselves became the primary purveyors of this message as well as its beneficiaries. First mobilized by the American Society for the Control of Cancer in the late 1920s, the high point of their voluntary participation occurred ten years later when they were recruited on a national basis into the ASCC's newly formed Women's Field Army.

Until then, our response to breast cancer will continue to reflect the defeat of every strategyoffensive or defensivethat has ever been put up to contend with its perennial deadliness. The unequal contest to date between clinical medicine and virulent pathology has, in the case of breast cancer, been aggravated by the dynamics of inequality between men and women, expressed primarily through the doctor/patient relationship. Echoes of nineteenth-century beliefs still hover over this pairing as well, despite the solid efforts of feminism to dispel them.

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