Justice and Lung Cancer

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (2):219-234 (2013)
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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, yet research funding is by far the lowest for lung cancer than for any other cancer compared with respective death rates. Although this discrepancy should appear alarming, one could argue that lung cancer deserves less attention because it is more attributable to poor life choices than other common cancers. Accordingly, the general question that I ask in this article is whether victims of more avoidable diseases, such as lung cancer, deserve to have their needs taken into less consideration than those of less avoidable diseases, on the grounds of either retributive or distributive justice. Such unequal treatment may be the “penalty” one incurs for negligent or reckless behavior. However, I hope to show that such unequal treatment cannot be supported by any coherent accounts of retributive or distributive justice



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Aaron Wilson
South Texas College

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