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Breast Cancer Wars Hope, Fear, and the Pursuit of a Cure in Twentieth-Century America

ISBN-10: 0195161068
ISBN-13: 9780195161069
Edition: 2003
Authors: Barron H. Lerner
List price: $22.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: In this riveting narrative, Barron H. Lerner offers a superb medical and cultural history of our century-long battle with breast cancer. Revisiting the past, Lerner argues, can illuminate and clarify the dilemmas confronted by women with, and at  More...

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Book details

List price: $22.95
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 5/1/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 416
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.924
Language: English

In this riveting narrative, Barron H. Lerner offers a superb medical and cultural history of our century-long battle with breast cancer. Revisiting the past, Lerner argues, can illuminate and clarify the dilemmas confronted by women with, and at risk for, the disease. Writing with insight and compassion, Lerner tells a compelling story of influential surgeons, anxious patients and committed activists. There are colourful portraits of the leading figures, ranging from the acerbic Dr. William Halsted, who pioneered the disfiguring radical mastectomy at the turn of the century to George Crile, Jr., the Cleveland surgeon who shocked the medical establishment by "going public" with his doubts about mastectomy, to Rose Kushner, a brash journalist who relentlessly educated American women about breast cancer. Lerner offers a fascinating account of the breast cancer wars: the insistent efforts of physicians to vanquish the "enemy" the fights waged by feminists and maverick doctors to combat a paternalistic legacy that discouraged decision-making by patients; and the struggles of statisticians and researchers to generate definitive data in the face of the great risks and uncertainties raised by the disease. As easy as it is to demonise male physicians, the persistence of the radical mastectomy and other invasive treatments has had as much to do with the complicated scientific understandings of breast cancer as with sexism. In Lerner's hands, the fight against breast cancer opens a window on American medical practice over the last century: the pursuit of dramatic cures with sophisticated technologies, the emergence of patients' rights, the ethical and legal challenges raised by informed consent, and the limited ability of scientific knowledge to provide quick solutions for serious illnesses. A searching and profound work on an emotionally charged issue, The Breast Cancer Wars tells a story that remains of vital importance to modern breast cancer patients, their families and the clinicians who strive to treat and prevent this dreaded disease.

Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction
Establishing a Tradition: William Halsted and the Radical Mastectomy
Inventing a Curable Disease: Breast Cancer Control after WorldWar II
The Scalpel Triumphant: Radical Surgery in the 1950s
A Heretical Interlude: Biology as Fate
Reality Check: Breast Cancer Treatment and Randomized Controlled Trials
"I Alone Am in Charge of My Body": Breast Cancer Patients in Revolt
No Shrinking Violet: Rose Kushner and the Maturation of Breast Cancer Activism
Seek and Ye Shall Find: Mammography Praised and Scorned
"The World Has Passed Us By": Science, Activism, and the Fall of the Radical Mastectomy
The Past as Prologue: What Can the History of Breast Cancer Teach Us?
Risky Business: Breast Cancer and Genetics
Epilogue
Postscript
Glossary of Breast Cancer Operations
Sources
Notes
Index

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