Dr. Sherelene Hesse-Biber

“The Pink Underside:” Women, Men and Hereditary Cancer

The Pink UndersideThis podcast takes you through the lesser-known world of pink ribbon culture, delving into the largely undiscussed concerns and issues around being a man or a woman diagnosed with hereditary cancer.

In a series of eye-opening interviews between Dr. Sharlene Hesse-Biber and former BBC journalist Chris Garrington, the podcast discusses  the leading sociologist’s research findings on men and women who test positive for the BRCA genetic mutation, a condition that places them and their blood relatives at an increased risk for breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.

A follow up to Dr. Hesse-Biber’s Waiting for Cancer to Come book and podcast series, this series takes you inside the world of women’s and men’s medical decision making and asks searching questions such as: How do women make decisions about if and when to get genetic testing or have surgery? Why are men, for the most part, left out of the genetic testing picture? How do men’s and women’s genetic testing and medical decision-making differ? What roles do family support and having children play in medical decision-making?  We examine the health and psycho-social impact on daughters when it is the father who passes on the genetic mutation to them.

Listen in as Professor Hesse-Biber reveals the BRCA-mutation journeys taken by men and women as they try to get to their “new normal.” Find out about some of the positive strategies that have helped women and men through their medical crisis and what BRCA-positive mutation carriers wish their doctors knew. Share in the wisdom they provide for those women and men who feel isolated with their BRCA+ genetic mutation diagnosis.

Episode 1: Decisions, decisions: I tested positive for BRCA!

What medical and personal decisions do women make after testing positive for the BRCA gene mutation, and what influences how they come to those decisions? You might be surprised to hear the answers. For more information, please access the full article entitled "Genetic Testing and Post-Testing Decision Making among BRCA-Positive Mutation Women: A Psychosocial Approach" (Hesse-Biber & An, 2016).

Episode 2: What do you mean I have breast cancer: I’m a man!

It is a complete myth that only women can get breast cancer, but how does a diagnosis affect a man when he hears the news? And what will he do next about getting treatment and sharing the news with family and friends? For more information, please access the full article entitled, "Within-Gender Differences in Medical Decision Making Among Male Carriers of the BRCA Genetic Mutation for Hereditary Breast Cancer" (Hesse-Biber & An, 2015).

Episode 3: Men are from Mars and women are from Venus: Why BRCA is a gendered journey

Hearing that you have tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation is clearly a major blow whether you are a woman or a man, yet those of different genders respond to that news, in many respects, very differently. What are these differences and what might explain them? For more information, please access the full article entitled, "Gender Differences in Psychosocial and Medical Outcomes Stemming From Testing Positive for the BRCA1/2 Genetic Mutation for Breast Cancer: An Explanatory Sequential Mixed Methods Study" (Hesse-Biber, 2016).

Episode 4: I got breast cancer from my dad! How did that happen?

If a woman tests positive for the hereditary breast cancer gene and she was unaware of any hereditary breast cancer in her family, she might automatically think the BRCA gene mutation may have traveled down the family tree from her mother or grandmother. But what about her father or grandfather? What are the implications for a woman who has inherited the mutated gene from her father rather than her mother, and what does this tell us about how our attitudes need to change towards hereditary breast and other cancers? For more information, stay tuned for the forthcoming article entitled, "From Fathers to Daughters: Parent-of-Origin Effects on BRCA+ Women’s Proactive Management of Hereditary Cancer Risk" (Hesse-Biber & Yi, 2017).

Research Podcasts
DSC_0049This podcast series was produced by Research Podcasts. For more information on Research Podcasts click here.

This podcast series is now available on our YouTube channel!