Previous work in the anthropology of cancer often examined causes, risks, and medical, familial, and embodied relationships created by the disease. Recent writing has expanded that focus, attending to cancer as a “total social fact” (Jain 2013) and dissecting the landscape of “carcinogenic relationships” (Livingston 2012). Cancer-driven relationships become subjectively real through individual suffering, stigma, and inequality. This article traces concepts developed from a primarily US-centered discourse to a global cancer discourse, including cancer-related issues continuing to raise concern such as stigma, narrative moments of critical reflection on the dominance of biomedicine, and processes by which individuals and communities manage inadequate access to biomedical technologies. Beyond the medical relations and politics of cancer, this article considers the ways in which ethnography addresses local moral worlds and differences that come to matter in attending to the disease, the person, and consequent social and material relations.


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