Polygenic risk-stratified screening for cancer Responsibilization in public health genomics

Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Emily Ross, Tineke Broer, Anne Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this article, we examine professional discourse around the development of polygenic risk-stratified screening (PRSS) for cancer. Analyzing a range of contemporary professional literatures from Europe, North America and Australia, we explore how the drive to screen for molecular markers of cancer risk makes professionals, screening recipients and publics responsible, in different ways, for acquiring, curating and analyzing molecular data. Investigating how these responsibilities are invoked in discussions of new data practices, technologies, organizational arrangements, engagement, education and protocols for participation, we argue that agendas for PRSS for cancer are both expanding and stratifying responsibilities. Data collection is to be achieved by intensified responsibilities for including, reassuring and recruiting populations, as well as by opening and enriching the data on which models and preventative screening arrangements are based. Enhanced responsibilities for screening recipients and publics are also invoked, not just in relation to personal health but for population health more generally, via research participation and consenting to data re-use in the public interest. Professionals, screening recipients and publics are also to become responsible for moderating expectations of screening according to genomic designations. Together these discourses go beyond individual risk management to extend and diversify the responsibilities of practitioners, screening recipients and publics as public health genomics develops.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2019


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