Breast cancer screening, the welfare state and biomedicalization

Date/Time: Thu 26 Oct / 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Location: Monash University, Room N402, (Menzies Building) 20 Chancellors Walk, Clayton Campus

School of Arts and Social Sciences


Breast cancer screening, the welfare state and biomedicalization

The theory of biomedicalization (Clarke et al, 2003) centres on five central processes: political economic shifts; the focus on health, risk and surveillance; the technoscientization of biomedicine; production, distribution and consumption of information and knowledge; and transformations of bodies and identities. While the history of breast cancer and breast cancer screening has been thoroughly studied in the US, few studies have focused on screening within the welfare state context. This paper will explore whether and how the biomedicalization hypothesis is relevant for breast cancer screening in a welfare state context, exemplified though the case of Norway. In European welfare states, health insurance provides full coverage.
The complex mix-up of biomedical, technical, professional, and economical interests is not necessary clear within the welfare state. Women within certain age-groups are invited regularly to breast cancer screening, at intervals defined by the public health services which are in charge of cancer screening programme. Thus, trust in authorities could be part of decision making about participation. In this paper, I will conduct an analysis with situational maps of actors, discursive constructions, politics and debates, and cultural, historical and special elements, from breast cancer screening in Norway, and interpret them within a framework of biomedicalization.

Marit Solbjør
is Associate Professor at Department of Public Health and Nursing, Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. Her main field of research is cancer screening. Her publications center around participant experiences of mammography screening, including first time participation in screening, perceptions of cancer risk, technology and the routinization of screening, as well as women’s experiences of having a false positive screen or having interval cancer. Solbjør contributed to the IARC (WHO) Handbook on Breast Cancer Screening 2016. Other previous research has been on user involvement in mental health services, medical technology in home care services, and various health service research. Currently she participates in research projects on long term sick leave, standardization of cancer trajectories and care pathways for elderly patients, and experiences of bowel cancer screening.

Thursday 26th October

02:00pm – 03:00pm

N402 Meeting Room, Level 4, Menzies Building
20 Chancellors Walk
Clayton Campus

For more information, please contact Alan Petersen on 9905 5508.

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