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Lecture 12

INST 352 Lecture 12: INST352 Lecture 12: Skin CancerExam

Information Studies
Course Code
INST 352

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INST352 Lecture 12: Skin Cancer
Maria had heard the dreaded word “cancer” her entire life. When she was a teenager
her grandfather had died of lung cancer, but other than him, nobody close to her had
ever been diagnosed with cancer. She knew that many old people died of cancerous
growths. Cancer, like death itself, was something that Maria would rather not think
about. Not long after her cousin’s discovery, Maria came down with a sore throat and
visited a nearby medical clinic. While in the waiting room she noticed a brochure, “What
You Need to Know about Skin Cancer,” published by the National Cancer Institute of
the National Institutes of Health. She took the brochure home to read and was surprised
to learn that almost half of all mature adults are likely to have had skin cancer. She had
thought cancers were pretty rare, except among the elderly. At least Maria felt confident
now that she knew how to spot skin cancer herself and what to do to avoid it. And, for a
time, that was all she wanted to know about cancers.
Some weeks later, coming across the brochure on skin cancer in her living room, Maria
found herself curious. What was cancer, exactly, and what caused it? The brochure did
not say much about the underlying nature and causes of carcinoma, but it listed a toll-
free number for further information (1-800-4-CANCER), which she called to request
other brochures in the National Cancer Institute series. Later she had coffee with a
friend who was a nurse and asked some very basic questions about cancer. Maria
didn’t understand quite everything that she was told by her friend, but understood
enough to know that she wanted to know more. Why she needed to know more, she
was not exactly sure, but maybe it could be useful in defending herself against future
One day Maria bought some skin cream made by the Avon company. With the skin
cream came a list of other Avon products, which mentioned that company’s “Breast
Cancer Awareness Crusadeand listed a website. Out of curiosity Maria used her home
computer to reach Avon’s Web page, where she found, along with answers to frequently
asked questions about breast cancer, some fascinating narratives by women who had
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