(Dis)continuities in cancer care: An ethnographic approximation to practices of disease stratification

Ignacia Arteaga, Cinzia Greco, Henry Llewellyn, Emily Ross, Julia Swallow

Research output: Other contribution


Disease stratification practices have long been used as a means to produce and make sense of cancer, distinguishing ‘types’, tumour development stages, and even patients’ sociodemographic profiles. However, interest in stratification; that is, the process of dividing oncology populations into clinically meaningful subtypes, has been re-invigorated by two recent developments in medicine and healthcare. First, an increased awareness of the multiplicity of bodies, subjectivities and lived situations that must be coordinated in order to achieve “good care” (Mol 2008, Puig de la Bellacasa 2011). Second, a growing understanding of the potentiality and challenges of genomic medicine, and the profound ways in which it is informing not only categories of cancer risk and prognosis, but also wider practices of cancer prevention, cancer surveillance, and pharmacological development (Kerr et al. 2019, Cambrosio et al. 2018). Current approaches in cancer care might therefore be reconfiguring longstanding forms of biological and social stratification, with important implications for patient experience. Only by unpacking the practices, hopes and dilemmas of multiple stakeholders can we begin to grasp what is at stake for cancer patients in the production of new disease categories and treatment options.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2019


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