Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic provides an innovative look at the social and political contexts of breast cancer and examines how this illness has become a social problem. This is not a book about breast cancer as a biological disease, its diagnosis and treatment, or the latest research to cure it. Rather, it looks at how economics, politics, gender, social class, and race-ethnicity have deeply influenced the science behind breast cancer research, spurred the growth of a breast cancer industry, generated media portrayals of women with the disease, and defined and influenced women s experiences with breast cancer. The contributors address the social construction of breast cancer as an illness and as an area of scientific controversy, advocacy, and public policy. Chapters on the history of breast cancer, the health care system, the environment, and the marketing of breast cancer, among others, tease apart the complex social forces that have shaped our collective and individual responses to breast cancer.