Author's Final Manuscript
Social Science & Medicine
In this paper, I draw on the narratives of 57 individuals whose gender identities and decisions about their bodies trouble the medical protocols for breast and gynecological cancer care. I focus here on the decision-making process for three groups of elective surgeries: hysterectomy, prophylactic bilateral and contralateral mastectomy, and breast reconstruction. These elective surgeries illustrate places in medical interactions where patients and providers rely on frames of gender to determine whether a given surgery is an appropriate option for cancer prevention or care. These cases also explain how patient experiences of medical interactions are shaped by and thus reproduce ideologies of gender through the bodies of patients. While clinical practice and medical decisions are supposedly determined through the principles of evidence-based medicine and patient-centered care, I show that ideas about gender can actually supersede both medical evidence and patient desires for their bodies in the care of gynecological and breast cancers.
Sledge, Piper. 2019. "From decision to incision: Ideologies of gender in surgical cancer care." Social Science & Medicine 239: 112550.