The body in breast cancer



Publication Details

Ehlers, N. & Krupar, S. 2012, 'The body in breast cancer', Social Semiotics, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 1-11.


Breast cancer is everywhere: it is a leading killer of women and a hyper-visible disease. Breast cancer proliferates and extends into almost every cultural arena in our contemporary moment. It can be found in your supermarket aisle on the lids of hummus containers; it can be found in your local hardware store adorning a hammer; it can be found on your continental US flight in the form of pink jelly beans and pink martinis. We have marches and rallies, in which you can run or walk for ‘‘the Cure’’ You can support the cause by buying cupcakes, jewelry, scarves, T-shirts, and teddy bears. And public service announcements relentlessly urge women to be aware of their risks and to screen themselves for the always possible onset of the disease. Yet this hyper-visibility does not truly capture the reach of breast cancer and its impact. Breast cancer affects one in eight females in the United States, one in eight in the United Kingdom, one in eleven in Australia, and devastates communities worldwide. The World Health Organization has found that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women globally; over 1.4 million women worldwide are diagnosed with the disease per year; breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths internationally among women; it will account for approximately half a million female deaths annually.

Please refer to publisher version or contact your library.



Link to publisher version (DOI)