Sexualizing Cancer – HPV and the Politics of Cancer Prevention

Autor Laura Mamo
en Limba Engleză Paperback – 20 dec 2023
The virus that changed how we think about cancer and its culprits—and the vaccine that changed how we talk about sex and its risks.
Starting in 2005, people in the US and Europe were inundated with media coverage announcing the link between cervical cancer and the sexually transmitted virus HPV. Within a year, product ads promoted a vaccine targeting cancer’s viral cause, and girls and women became early consumers of this new cancer vaccine. An understanding of HPV’s broadening association with other cancers led to the identification of new at-risk populations—namely boys and men—and ignited a plethora of gender and sexual issues related to cancer prevention.
Sexualizing Cancer is the first book dedicated to the emergence and proliferation of the HPV vaccine along with the medical capacity to screen for HPV—crucial landmarks in the cancer prevention arsenal based on a novel connection between sex and chronic disease. Interweaving accounts from the realms of biomedical science, public health, and social justice, Laura Mamo chronicles cervical cancer’s journey out of exam rooms and into public discourse. She shows how the late twentieth-century scientific breakthrough that identified the human papilloma virus as having a causative role in the onset of human cancer galvanized sexual politics, struggles for inclusion, new at-risk populations, and, ultimately, a new regime of cancer prevention. Mamo reveals how gender and other equity arguments from within scientific, medical, and advocate communities shaped vaccine guidelines, clinical trial funding, research practices, and clinical programs, with consequences that reverberate today. This is a must-read history of medical expansion—from a “woman’s disease” to a set of cancers that affect all genders—and of lingering sexualization, with specific gendered, racialized, and other contours along the way.
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ISBN-13: 9780226829296
ISBN-10: 0226829294
Pagini: 368
Ilustrații: 2 line drawings, 2 tables
Dimensiuni: 152 x 226 x 26 mm
Greutate: 0.52 kg
Ediția:First Edition
Editura: University of Chicago Press

Notă biografică

Laura Mamo is professor in the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University. She is the author of Queering Reproduction: Achieving Pregnancy in the Age of Technoscience, coauthor of Living Green: Communities that Sustain, and coeditor of Biomedicalization Studies: Technoscience and Transformations of Health, Illness, and U.S. Biomedicine.


Introduction: The Sexual Politics of Cancer and a New Regime of Cancer Prevention
Chapter One: Producing and Protecting Risky Girls
Chapter Two: “What’s In It for the Boys?”
Chapter Three: The Cancer That Dare Not Speak Its Name
Chapter Four: A Tale of Two Trials: Settling Debate through Evidence-Based Medicine
Chapter Five: A “Coming Epidemic” of HPV-Associated Oral Cancer
Chapter Six: Sex at the Oncology Office: Oral Cancer Care and the Politics of Prevention
Chapter Seven: Cervical Cancer’s Screening Politics
Chapter Eight: The Precision Imaginary: Optimizing Cancer Prevention Tools
Chapter Nine: Commodities of Sexual Health Care


“An engaging, informative, and exceptionally erudite effort to explicate and analyze the complex, decades-long intertwining of HPV, cancer, gender, and sexuality. Sexualizing Cancer will be a welcome resource for scholars, clinicians, and policymakers.”

“Mamo has put together an exciting and lively read, highlighting historically through to the present day the many ways in which assumptions about gender and sexuality underpin much of public health decision making. With a focus on HPV, she sets out an extremely compelling and well written narrative that places current debates within their larger economic, social, cultural, and political contexts. Weaving together the local and the global, she ultimately asks us to query how our own assumptions about gender, sexuality, race, and class impact how we read and understand public health, and the social connections and actions we take.”