Breast Cancer Meanings: Journeys Across Asia

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edited by Cynthia Chou and Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen

Breast cancer is now the most common cancer among women in most Asian countries. Many lives are at stake. Even in places where state-of-the-art medical services are available, thousands of women in Asia are dying of the disease largely due to late presentation compared to women in most Western countries. While much progress has been made in Western medical science to treat breast cancer, it appears that there are significant socio-cultural considerations and contexts in Asia that limit the efficacy of Western-based health-care methods.

         This volume presents conversations across Asia with breast cancer patients, their caregivers, doctors, traditional healers as well as just ordinary men and women—all on the subject of breast cancer meanings. Through the stories as told by local peoples in Asia about how they think and talk about breast cancer, as well as how they respond to the disease, insights on breast cancer meanings emerge. These offer new understandings into how local contexts shape those meanings and life courses—and hopefully will help medical practitioners devise new strategies to combat the disease.

"There is much to do [in the fight against breast cancer across Asia] and this is just the beginning. This novel partnership of cancer surgeons and cultural experts may form the vanguard of new and important discoveries."Lee Chuen Neng, National University Health System, Singapore

Cynthia Chou is professor of Anthropology at the University of Iowa. She also holds the C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family Chair in Asian Studies.

Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen is Curator, Modern History and World Cultures, National Museum of Denmark. She has worked as a social and medical anthropologist in Southeast Asia for more than 20 years, focusing on polygamy, gender and health.


Publication Year: 2018
304 pages, 229mm x 152mm 
ISBN: 978-981-4722-82-7

NUS Press