Cancer's Margins

Cancer's Margins and the Choreography of Knowledge: Toward a Queer Biopolitics and the Mobilization of Public Health Knowledge

Principal Investigators: M. Bryson, J. Gahagan, T. Hart, G. Rail, J. Ristock, E. Fredericks
Co-Investigators: L. Boschman, S. Dharamsi, M. Fitch, B. Frank, L. Gillis, C. Haythornthwaite, D. Holmes, A. Kazanjian, S. Murray, B. Noble, C. Sindin, C. Williams, J. Willinsky, and E. Fredericks.

Canadian and U.S. population-based surveys of health behaviors and outcomes for sexual and/or gender minority groups provide evidence of persistent breast and gynecologic cancer-related health disparities and knowledge divides. These disparities signal the particular importance, for health equity, of ameliorated, innovative and effective public access to culturally appropriate cancer health knowledge. A common QLGBT (queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and two-spirit) health argument is that increased attention to population-based breast and gynecologic cancer health promotion will yield salutary effects. However, before such steps can be taken, research is needed on what knowledge actually informs cancer health decision-making by sexual and/or gender minority cancer patients, care network members and their health-care providers.

This three-year trans-Canadian interdisciplinary research project will:

  1. document what knowledge actually informs cancer health and treatment decision-making by sexual and/or gender minority breast or gynecologic cancer patients, care network members and health-care providers in diverse locations;
  2. expose and analyze complex intersectional relationships between gender and sexuality, and cancer health and care experiences generally, and knowledge access, sharing and mobilization practices specifically;
  3. schematize how and where knowledge travels; that is, how patients, care network members and health-care providers navigate the complex choreography of access to, and negotiation of, differences in knowledge related to cancer health and treatment decision-making.

Semi-structured interviews will be carried out in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, with a purposively diverse sample (age, place, race, language, SES) of QLB women and transgender people (n=60) diagnosed and treated for breast or gynecologic cancers and also, with care network members (n=100). 

Cancer health and care professionals, in Canada (and elsewhere) would benefit, we hold, from a better understanding of how groups that are historically marginalized in health care settings and discourses negotiate an invariably complex choreography of knowledge in health and care decision-making.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please find out more.

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for $356,377 (2012-2015).