Carmel Cardona

thesis Title:

From Taboo to Pleasure: A UK Study of Breast Cancer Survivorship and Sexual Selfhood.


One in seven women in the UK will develop breast cancer. Advances in detection and treatment are turning cancers into “chronic rather than terminal conditions” (Kerr & Cunningham-Burley 2015); indeed, breast cancer is beginning to be perceived as a largely curable disease (de Light et al 2021). With survival rates improving and the median age at diagnosis reducing each year, research into survivorship is a necessary and growing field. Studies show that the impact on sexuality in people living with and beyond cancer remains the treatment burden least addressed or resolved (Charif et al 2016), despite the importance of sexual wellbeing to quality of life (Ussher et al 2012). Existing research examining the impact of cancer on sexual wellbeing pays little attention to the role of social and cultural discourse on sex and gender in shaping embodied experiences of sexuality (Parton et al 2017), with studies employing measures drawn from heteronormative, androcentric constructs of sexual function (Bober et al 2019). This interdisciplinary project will employ participatory research methods to create a framework for understanding sexual selfhood in participants living with and beyond breast cancer; use mixed-method research to elicit data on somatic and affective constructions of sexuality; and will explore the impact and potential of collective creative interventions.

Social Media:

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First Supervisor:

Dr Amy Hinterberger


Pathway 3: Health, Biopolitics & Social Inequality