The incidence of breast cancer is on the rise globally, and the Indian state of Kerala is no exception. Kerala has a vibrant and exciting history of social and political struggles centered on the female breast, as is evidenced by the system of breast tax applicable to lower caste women and the breast cloth revolt. Despite this long history of public attention, the diseased female breast remains an area of silence. In Western countries, the Breast Cancer Movement has played a significant role in bringing awareness on breast cancer. Unlike in the Western world and certain other parts of India, Kerala has not seen a Breast Cancer Movement, and there are no public spaces available for discussion of breast cancer. Research has shown that breast cancer diagnosis and treatment are often delayed in the case of Asian women. This study analyses the personal narratives of women with breast cancer to identify the reasons for this delay which usually affects the survival of women. Several social, economic, and cultural factors that contribute to the delay in diagnosing and treating breast cancer come up in these narratives. The attempt here is to understand breast cancer in the social and cultural context of Kerala. In the light of the evidence shown by my research, I argue that the absence of breast cancer movements or activism is a major cause of the current situation in Kerala. It is essential for a movement organised by women to bring about a radical change in the Kerala scenario concerning women with breast cancer.
"Kerala Needs a Women’s Movement for Breast Cancer: An Exploratory Study on Breast Cancer Awareness in Kerala,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss1/6