The ‘invisible scars’ of breast cancer treatments (Respond to this article at



Drawing on 38 fieldwork interviews with women living with breast cancer conducted in Spain between 2006 and 2008, I draw attention to the significance of what Ludica (2013) refers to as the “invisible scars of cancer” for a holistic understanding of women's experiences. I highlight two under acknowledged thematic concerns that emerged during our conversations: (1) the impact of treatments on women's ability to experience sexual pleasure; (2) the pain caused by axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) or armpit surgery. The present article is a timely reminder of the fact that for a shockingly high number of women diagnosed, the experience of breast cancer is emotionally and physically painful and quite often disabling. An understanding of women's experiences is essential to provide resources more sensitive to women's needs.