The US Breast Cancer Body in the Rising Age of the Mastectomy

Bernadette Wegenstein (The Johns Hopkins University)

Abstract

This article discusses changes in women’s bodies as a result of their breast cancer treatment and how they experience those changes. It draws on the lived experiences of five US women from my documentary The Good Breast (2016). All have lost one or two breasts and had different forms of breast reconstruction, from implants to latissimus dorsi breast reconstructions that use one’s own tissue and fat. In what follows I explore how the rise of the mastectomy has produced various forms of a female body that looks for a kind of rebirth in the loss of the breast.

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