By Sahra Gibbon
The ebook examines the social and cultural context of latest genetic wisdom linked to breast melanoma. It seems to be at how this information and applied sciences are used and bought in contrasting social arenas - melanoma genetic clinics and a breast melanoma study charity.
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Additional info for Breast cancer genes and the gendering of knowledge : science and citizenship in the cultural context of the "new" genetics
The possible presence of a ‘gene’ therefore took on a greater significance than it might have otherwise done as her response, to our discussion about the possibility that genetic testing might prove inconclusive or potentially negative, illustrated: The Enrolment of ‘Patients’ 39 Deborah: If she’s [her aunt] got it then that’s obviously where it’s come from and my mother would have it as well, but if she doesn’t prove positive there are still genes that haven’t been discovered yet. It could still be an ‘outsider’.
The more specialist cancer genetic clinic sees new referrals or those identified at high risk or who are undergoing testing. It is run by a nurse specialist and a number of clinical geneticists. In both hospitals patients are referred to the cancer genetic clinics in a variety of ways. Although in an earlier period patients may have been able to self refer (Parthasarathy 2003), most new requests for referral now come from GPs. But letters might also come from breast screening units or family history clinics in the same or other hospitals.
The ‘telescoping’ work of patients in relation to breast cancer genetics operates in pursuit of, while helping to make real, an at-risk identity. While physical similarities between related family members were seen by some as evidence of genetic risk, others expressed an underlying fear and uncertainty about their bodies, which also informed and fed the perceived need and rationale for referral to a specialist clinic. Although a sense of connection with others’ bodies might provide the background to perceptions of risk for these persons, this was less the locus of concern than a sense of detachment and feelings of pathology about their own.