Introduction: Breast cancer and the perils of health literacy

  • Amaya H
  • Petersen J
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The article focuses on the aspect of breast cancer and the perils of health literacy. It addresses breast cancer as a social and educational phenomenon impacted by specialized debates on knowledge, science and education and the more general discourses of gender, illness and health that define it socially, politically and personally. Breast cancer activism of the political kind, which constitutes a critical pedagogy, links knowledge systems and social practices to power and questions hegemonic understandings of women as victims. Samantha King (see record [rid]2004-17535-002[/rid]) examines how public discourse on breast cancer in the US has changed from a stigmatized disease best dealt with privately and in isolation, to a neglected epidemic worthy of public debate and political organizing, to an enriching and affirming experience during which women with the disease are rarely 'patients' and mostly 'survivors'. Susan McKay and Frances Bonner (see record [rid]2004-17535-003[/rid]) do a critical review of women's magazines in Australia and look at how these magazines try to educate their readers into becoming aware of preventive measures and on being proper breast cancer sufferers. While mass media attempts to normalize women's psychological, emotional and intellectual reactions to the disease, Hector Amaya's (see record [rid]2004-17535-005[/rid]) essay examines how the art and practice of photography has helped a breast cancer sufferer redefine herself. Furthermore, the final piece is an interview with Matuschka, a renowned artist and activist who was key to breast cancer art and activism in the US and Europe during the 1990s. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Hector Amaya

  • Jennifer Petersen

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