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Moral themes were a striking feature of the causal explanations for female cancers discussed by oncologists and patients in an ethnographic study of hospital-based cancer care in southern Mexico. These explanations integrate general biomedical explanations with everyday expectations and experiences, giving meaning to otherwise arbitrary events. Analysis of case examples shows that causal models incorporate local constructs about what constitutes a virtuous life, especially in terms of class- and gender-based values. Although patients and physicians draw on similar concepts of moral order, they apply these constructs in distinct ways. Because physicians' explanations are necessarily framed in terms of object, their causal stories employ generalized presumptions about how categories of persons behave (e.g., women, the lower class). In contrast, patients' explanations are framed in terms of subject; they are based on the specific details of their personal history. The article examines the distinct perspectives of physicians and patients, and provides an illustration of how biomedical culture articulates with the local moral constructs of a particular community, [cancer; Mexico; culture of biomedicine; concepts of illness; oncology, models of illness]