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By Sahra Gibbon

The publication examines the social and cultural context of latest genetic wisdom linked to breast melanoma. It seems at how this data and applied sciences are used and bought in contrasting social arenas - melanoma genetic clinics and a breast melanoma study charity.

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Sample text

It is in fact just such services and interventions that those I met appeared to seek in pragmatically constructing themselves as particular kinds of patients, where the sorts of agency gained from objectification is directly linked to investment in specialist clinical knowledge and specific visualising technologies. Faith in technology If many of those attending the clinic articulate a need to identify risk and danger before a problem takes hold, the expertise and technologies associated with this medical specialty are directly connected to these efforts, in their perceived ability to pre-empt risk and danger.

For example, one woman I met noted the difference between the time when their relatives had had breast cancer and now: When me Nan had it, it was like whisper whisper ‘the big C’. My mum found it very hard to say the word too, but now we can say the word. Speaking about the experience of cancer in the family or personal fears of the disease, as some had been required to do with their GP or other health care professionals in order to secure an appointment, was more than a celebration of a newly acquired ability to vocalise concerns or simply an expression of personal anxiety.

Even when the depiction of family history seemed to be more balanced, or at least encompass more people, as in Julie’s case, ‘clues’ about possible risk were also visually represented. Lucy’s depiction of her family history was less obviously a narrative about ‘risk’ in the way the others seemed to be. There was, for instance, no indication in her drawing of who had had cancer. Nonetheless, unlike others, she had also included her children and her sister’s children in her depiction of family history, where there was a gendered ratio which, for her, was further evidence of risk (see p.

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