This article considers the establishment of the category of “hormone-dependent cancers,” identified around the middle of the twentieth century as cancers sustained by particular hormones. A comparison of hormonal treatments for prostate cancer and those for breast cancer reveals that the genesis of “hormone-dependent cancer” as a biomedical category relied upon assumptions that cast androgens and estrogens as opposing ends of a gendered hormonal binary of health and disease. In the 1930s, cancer researchers claimed “female sex hormones” (estrogens) exacerbated breast cancer and “male sex hormones” (androgens) prevented it. In the early 1940s, Dr. Charles Huggins applied the opposite logic to the treatment of human prostate cancer, which he determined to be “hormone-dependent.” As “hormone dependency” was also recognized in human breast cancer over the subsequent decades, estrogen claimed a prominent place in discussions of breast cancer’s causation, diagnosis, and treatment. This close association between estrogen and breast cancer contributed to reinterpretations of both biomedical categories.
The phrase “disease of civilization” and concomitant lexicons, such as “pathologies of modernization,” frequently surface across public and global health discourses. This is particularly the case within the framework of cancer research in Africa. In this article the authors trace the emergence of these grammars of progress at the beginning of the twentieth century as a biomedical lens through which to analyze and frame cancer in Africa. Arguing with Ann Stoler for a recursive understanding of colonial and postcolonial history, the authors follow in detail the lexical shifts and recursions across the twentieth century, as these grammars move from diseases of civilization to development and modernization. In tracing these lexical shifts, they place them within the broader understandings of Africa and the African body as an other against which Euro-America frames itself.
This article examines the development of a collaborative model of home-based reproductive caregiving in Ireland from 1900 to 1950, focusing on the interactions of different practitioners in childbirth cases in the domestic sphere. In Ireland the move to obstetrics and trained nursing and midwifery was gradual, complicated by the needs and wants of ordinary women, who were reluctant to give up their trusted care givers and who actively sought to maintain long-standing domestic health care traditions. The result was a hybrid and collaborative model of domestic reproductive health care, requiring the attention of different practitioners, placing them in the same space, and necessitating that they work together. This dynamic and evolving system provided most pregnant, laboring, and postparturient women with essential reproductive care, but it would be overtaken by hospital-based reproductive medicine by around 1950, remaining only in folklore and memory by the late twentieth century.
This article contrasts women’s auxiliaries as volunteers and fundraisers at a voluntary sanatorium and a community hospital in metropolitan Phoenix. Their experience highlights the rising importance of private investors in nonprofit health care. Nonprofit community hospitals depended on volunteer labor from women’s auxiliaries to keep their doors open in the mid-twentieth-century United States. However, their position became subordinate to financial demands from bondholders—these (and other) financial influences eroded the social capital created by charitable labor. At Maryvale Hospital, one of the “eight-percenter” mortgage bond hospitals built across the Sun Belt during the early sixties, bondholders assumed much of the fundraising and advocacy activities reserved for women’s auxiliaries. Once bondholders assumed the duties of women’s auxiliaries, their profitability became the determinant for success in nonprofit health care. Their rise reflects a shift from the social capital associated with charitable volunteers to the bond markets necessary for modern metropolitan development.