Back to Results
Cover image of Preventive Strikes
Cover image of Preventive Strikes
Share this Title:

Preventive Strikes

Women, Precancer, and Prophylactic Surgery

Ilana Löwy

Publication Date
Binding Type

Winner, 2011 Best Book in the History of Medicine, European Association for the History of Medicine and Health

Modern scientific tools can identify a genetic predisposition to cancer before any disease is detectable. Some women will never develop breast or ovarian cancer, but they nevertheless must decide, as a result of genetic testing, whether to have their breasts and ovaries removed to avoid the possibility of disease. The striking contrast between the sophistication of diagnosis and the crudeness of preventive surgery forms the basis of historian Ilana Löwy’s important study.

Löwy traces...

Winner, 2011 Best Book in the History of Medicine, European Association for the History of Medicine and Health

Modern scientific tools can identify a genetic predisposition to cancer before any disease is detectable. Some women will never develop breast or ovarian cancer, but they nevertheless must decide, as a result of genetic testing, whether to have their breasts and ovaries removed to avoid the possibility of disease. The striking contrast between the sophistication of diagnosis and the crudeness of preventive surgery forms the basis of historian Ilana Löwy’s important study.

Löwy traces the history of prophylactic amputations through a century of preventive treatment and back to a long tradition of surgical management of gynecological problems. In the early twentieth century, surgeons came to believe that removing precancerous lesions—a term difficult to define even today—averted the danger of malignancy. This practice, Löwy finds, later led to surgical interventions for women with a hereditary predisposition to cancer but no detectable disease.

Richly detailed stories of patients and surgeons in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom allow Löwy to compare the evolution of medical thought and practice—and personal choice—in these different cultures.

Preventive Strikes aims to improve our understanding of professional, social, and cultural responses to cancer in the twenty-first century and to inform our reflections about how values are incorporated into routine medical practices.Ilana Löwy

Reviews

Reviews

Splendid... This is a major study for doctors and historians alike.

Elegantly captures the history of the medicine and the politics, showing how they are interlinked.

A riveting and tragic story.

A valuable contribution to the historical scholarship on risk, surgery and cancer, and one can only wish that it will influence current discussions around the topic.

Preventive Strikes, the work of a gifted scholar, is an ambitious contribution to cancer history.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
344
ISBN
9780801893643
Illustration Description
11 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Embodied Risk
1. Biopsy
2. Classifications
3. Borderline Lesions
4. In Situ Cancers
5. The Origins of Screening
6. The Generalization of Screening
7. Heredity
8. The New Surgical

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Embodied Risk
1. Biopsy
2. Classifications
3. Borderline Lesions
4. In Situ Cancers
5. The Origins of Screening
6. The Generalization of Screening
7. Heredity
8. The New Surgical Radicalism
Conclusion: Uncertainty
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Ilana Löwy

Ilana Löwy (PARIS, FRANCE) is emerita senior research fellow at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. She is the author of Imperfect Pregnancies: A History of Birth Defects and Prenatal Diagnosis.
Resources

Additional Resources