Identifying the early cancerous body


Session type:

Rikke Sand Anderson1
1Aarhus University


This presentation discusses ongoing changes in orientations to cancer disease control in the Global North, particularly health promoter attempts to identify the early cancerous body. The paper suggests that the emphasis on early diagnosis of cancer aligns ideas on a symptomatic management of the public with a process in which ‘what counts as cancer symptoms’ is steadily being subdivided and expanded. This alignment, the paper suggests, is an example of how biomedicine extends its boundaries into everyday forms of embodied, social life and adds to the building contemporary forms of disease sensitization, defined as a form of embodied subjunctivity experienced as a potential, or the ever-present ‘what if’. The presentation adds to panel discussions on genomic research, by reflecting on how our human desire to alleviate or prevent suffering, alters the social and moral values that we place on bodily sensations and their management.