Translations and transformations in patienthood: cancer in the post-genomics era

This collaborative research examines the transformations in cancer patienthood in the post-genomics era, and is located at the intersections of science and technology studies, medical sociology, and interdisciplinary bioethics. This project has adopted a multi-sited, qualitative approach to examine the implications of these changes for cancer patients, their families, health care professionals and the wider public. The researchers are conducting multiple interviews, observations and group discussions, in order to explore how developments in cancer research and their clinical application change people's experiences of cancer risk and treatment, their relationships with health professionals and clinical researchers, and their hopes and concerns for the future. We are exploring four main themes: the social issues involved in delivering stratified/personalised medicine; how new risk factors, screening, early diagnosis and monitoring for survivors fit with ideas about and experiences of being a patient; how patients think about being involved in cancer research, especially clinical trials; wider public engagement in cancer, the role of social media and new types of patient groups and activities. Working closely with patients, clinicians and scientists, we hope the research will contribute to improvements in health policy and service delivery in this important field.


Principle Investigators: Anne Kerr (University of Glasgow) and Sarah Cunningham-Burley (University of Edinburgh)


January 2015 to June 2021 


Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award

Project website