Study examines 'black boxing' in breast cancer survivorship care

By IqbalL Pittalwala, UCR News |

Today, many women diagnosed with breast cancer live long after completing their cancer treatments and have post-treatment health and information needs. Unfortunately, across healthcare systems, survivorship care is neither consistent nor systematically implemented.

By conducting in-depth interviews with 82 breast cancer survivors and 84 providers in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, Deborah Lefkowitz, an assistant professional researcher in the School of Public Policy and Center for Social Innovation at the University of California, Riverside, investigated how information works during the transition from breast cancer treatment to post-treatment and how it shapes women’s understanding of survivorship.

Lefkowitz found that cancer treatment tends to “black box” information, with visible inputs and outputs but concealed inner workings. She employed Actor-Network Theory to open black boxes in breast cancer and survivorship care and examined how the information they contained was actually functioning.

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