Waiting for Cancer to Come
Women's Experiences with Genetic Testing and Medical Decision Making for Breast and Ovarian Cancer
A narrative-driven exploration of the effects of BRCA genetic testing on the lives of at-risk women
Waiting for Cancer to Come tells the stories of women who are struggling with their high risk for cancer. Based on interviews and surveys of dozens of women, this book pieces together the diverse yet interlocking experiences of women who have tested positive for the BRCA 1/2 gene mutations, which indicate a higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Sharlene Hesse-Biber brings these narratives to light and follows women’s journeys from deciding to get screened for BRCA, to learning the test has come back positive, to dealing with their risk. Many women already know the challenges of a family history riddled with cancer and now find themselves with the devastating knowledge of their own genetic risk. Using the voices of the women themselves to describe the under-explored BRCA experience, Waiting for Cancer to Come looks at the varied emotional, social, economic, and psychological factors at play in women’s decisions about testing and cancer prevention.
Sharlene Hesse-Biber is Professor of Sociology and the Director of Women’s Studies & Gender Studies Program at Boston College.