Awkward Choreographies from Cancer's Margins: Incommensurabilities of Biographical and Biomedical Knowledge in Sexual and/or Gender Minority Cancer Patients’ Treatment

Journal of Medical Humanities 41 (3):341-361 (2020)
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Abstract

Canadian and American population-based research concerning sexual and/or gender minority populations provides evidence of persistent breast and gynecologic cancer-related health disparities and knowledge divides. The Cancer's Margins research investigates the complex intersections of sexual and/or gender marginality and incommensurabilities and improvisation in engagements with biographical and biomedical cancer knowledge. The study examines how sexuality and gender are intersectionally constitutive of complex biopolitical mappings of cancer health knowledge that shape knowledge access and its mobilization in health and treatment decision-making. Interviews were conducted with a diverse group of sexual and/or gender minority breast or gynecologic cancer patients. The LGBQ//T2 cancer patient narratives we have analyzed document in fine grain detail how it is that sexual and/or gender minority cancer patients punctuate the otherwise lockstep assemblage of their cancer treatment decision-making with a persistent engagement in creative attempts to resist, thwart and otherwise manage the possibility of discrimination and likewise, the probability of institutional erasure in care settings. Our findings illustrate the demands that cancer places on LGBQ//T2 patients to choreograph access to, and mobilization of knowledge and care, across significantly distinct and sometimes incommensurable systems of knowledge.

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