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Title: Women and breast cancer: feminist approaches to genetic information
Author: Mitchell, Helen Susan
ISNI:       0000 0001 3411 6739
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2008
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Genetically predisposed breast cancer, commonly Breast Cancer 1 (BRCA1) . ·or Breast Cancer 2 (BRCA2), accounts for 5-10cro of the 41,000 women . diagnosed with breast cancer in the United Kingdom each year (Breast ~Cancer Care, 2006). The isolation of such genes has resulted in a - .-'perceived mora/responsibility for patients to access, disclose and disseminate information to family members who may be affected (Buller, 2000). This information can be difficult to interpret and poses complex questions of privacy, confi~entiality and discrimination for health care professionals when advising and supporting their patients. To address these questions, this thesis draws in particular on Gilligan's .(1982) research, which suggests that when women are faced with moral . conflicts, they typically focus on their caring commitments and responsibilities towards others (ethic of care), in contrast to men, who frequently adopt a jus+ice/rights oriented approach (ethic of justice). It is not claimed that either ·approach is exclusive to males or females, but that bioethics has traditionally paid little attention to notions of care. To, . address this omission, this thesis builds on the foundation of an ethic of care approach, but concludes that care considerations alone are .. inadequate. Instead, I argue for the integration of an ethic of care with a justice/rights perspective, enabling a fuller analysis of the issues identified. This eclectic approach is further supplemented by a feminist analysis of the traditional autonomy view prevalent within bioethics, .. replacing it with a relational understanding of this concept. This account .. acknowledges the effects of socialisation for individuals and the . «:urtailments to personal autonomy which can result. I argue that the use . of the ethic of care, justice/rights and relational autonomy approach leads to a bett~r understanding of the moral questions being asked. In . practical terms this facilitates a more collaborative approach between health care professionals and their patients, as the 'desires of others, their personal quirks and connections' (Porter, 1999 p.14) become known. This trans-disciplinary approach, in which medicine, nursing and genetics ~. I work collaboratively with the patient, can, I suggest, facilitate a more directive counselling approach which enables health care professionals to advise and support their.patients.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Keele University, 2008 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available