Communicating "Evidence": Lifestyle, Cancer, and the Promise of a Disease-free Future

Kirsten Bell, Svetlana Ristovski-Slijepcevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the era of evidence-based health care, conferences aimed at disseminating scientific knowledge perform an essential role in shaping policy and research agendas and transforming physician practice. Drawing on observations at two U.S. cancer prevention conferences aimed at knowledge translation, we examine the ways that evidence regarding the relationship between cancer and lifestyle is articulated and enacted. We show that characterizations of the evidence base at the conferences far outstripped what is presently known about the relationship between cancer and lifestyle. The messages presented to conference participants were also personalized and overtly moralistic, with attendees engaged not merely as practitioners but as members of the public at risk for cancer. We conclude that conferences seeking to bring together knowledge "makers" and knowledge "users" play a potentially important role in the production of scientific facts and are worthy of further study as distinct sites of knowledge production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-36
Number of pages21
JournalMedical Anthropology Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Neoplasms
  • Obesity
  • Translational Medical Research
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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