Anglin, Mary K. 1997. "Working from the Inside Out: Implications of Breast Cancer Activism for Biomedical Policies and Practices." Social Science & Medicine 44:1403-1415.

In this article, Anglin studies the treatment activism of women with breast cancer through an ethnographic study of NORCAL, an advocacy organization, and its members. While others have focused on women’s health behaviors, treatment decision-making, and risk factors, Anglin examines patient experience through breast cancer activists. What she terms “treatment activists” are women who work to improve access to and knowledge of available breast cancer treatment options. They reframe access to care to “access to the right kind of care” (1407). NORCAL has advocated for less toxic treatment options, more alternatives, and access to clinical trials through “compassionate use”. The women that speak on behalf of NORCAL build from the feminist

personal is political” and extend this philosophy to medicine. They do not separate emotional experience of having breast cancer from the scientific information relevant to treatment. One avenue they have taken is to pressure government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to make drugs more quickly accessible to very ill patients. Another is to improve public policies about breast cancer treatment coverage. A limitation of this group is that they encompass mostly white middle class women and as a result do not address issues that affect women of other social classes or racial groups. As the author notes, obtaining access to “the right kind of care” presumes that women already have access to some form of health care.
I found this article provocative in conjunction with the other readings because it shows the different levels at which advocacy can happen. In the case of a group of mostly middle class women and with a recognized disease, the focus of advocacy is about obtaining the best care.