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abstract artworkA panel discussion on breast cancer Monday, March 9, will mark International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day panel to discuss breast cancer

While most people in our region are aware of breast cancer — often through their own experiences with the disease or those of loved ones — many are uninformed about the causes that go beyond the individual, and even less conversant about influences that shape the breast cancer movement.

A panel discussion presented by the Women’s and Gender Studies program in observance of International Women’s Day will run 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, March 9, in the Toldo Health Education Centre’s room 203.

It will feature:

  • Sharon Batt, an adjunct professor in the departments of bioethics and political science at Dalhousie University. After completing her master’s studies in social psychology, she co-founded Canada’s first feminist magazine, Branching Out. A breast cancer diagnosis led her to focus her attention on the politics of cancer from a feminist patient’s perspective.
  • Mercedes Buhagiar, a graduate of the UWindsor social work and women’s studies programs. Since her diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer in 2016, she has been a public advocate against breast cancer, working with Rethink Breast Cancer and the Windsor Cancer Foundation to spread awareness and education for the cause.
  • Jane E. McArthur, a doctoral candidate in sociology and social justice at the University of Windsor. Her dissertation research examines how women who work in an environment with an identified risk of breast cancer construct understandings and narratives of their risks and how women perceive and exercise agency in the acceptance, avoidance or negotiation of those risks.

They will discuss how a young woman with breast cancer fell under the radar in a health system that operates based on statistics and how her engagement in breast cancer advocacy groups helped her cope with the disease; how the public has been continuously bombarded with messages from mainstream media, cancer agencies, and medical professionals that focus on individual lifestyle and genetic risk factors to the exclusion of causality and prevention; and how partnerships between advocacy groups and the pharmaceutical industry can affect the public discourse and undermine health policies meant to serve the public interest.

This event is free and open to the public. Find more detail on the event Facebook page.