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Cancer, COVID-19, and the need for critique

Greco, C; Arteaga, I; Fabian-Therond, C; Llewellyn, H; Swallow, J; Viney, W; (2020) Cancer, COVID-19, and the need for critique. Wellcome Open Research , 5 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16404.1. Green open access

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In this open letter we examine the implications of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic for cancer research and care from the point of view of the social studies of science, technology, and medicine. We discuss how the pandemic has disrupted several aspects of cancer care, underscoring the fragmentation of institutional arrangements, the malleable priorities in cancer research, and the changing promises of therapeutic innovation. We argue for the critical relevance of qualitative social sciences in cancer research during the pandemic despite the difficulties of immersive kinds of fieldwork. Social science research can help understand the ongoing, situated and lived impact of the pandemic, as well as fully underline its socially stratified consequences. We outline the risk that limiting and prioritising research activities according to their immediate clinical outcomes might have in the relational and longitudinal understanding of cancer practices in the UK. Finally, we alert against potential distortions that a “covidization” of cancer research might entail, arguing for the need to maintain a critical point of view on the pandemic.

Type: Article
Title: Cancer, COVID-19, and the need for critique
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16404.1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16404.1
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2020 Greco C et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Cancer, COVID-19, Social Sciences, United Kingdom
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10126277
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