The Emperor of All Maladies

DVD - 2015
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Spurred by a personal tragedy, America's foremost documentarian is tackling cancer. Ken Burns examines cancer with a cellular biologist₂s precision, a historian's perspective, and a biographer's passion. The series artfully weaves three different films in one: a riveting historical documentary; an engrossing and intimate verite film; and a scientific and investigative report.
Publisher: [Arlington, Virginia] : PBS Distribution, ©2015
ISBN: 9781627892773
Branch Call Number: 616.994 CAN
Characteristics: 3 videodiscs (approximately 6 hours) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
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May 31, 2017

Comment and quotes disappeared - reviewed some time ago and repost them today:

Excellent PBS series on the human sufferings in dealing with and humbled researches in tackling the emperor of diseases. Like other branches of sciences, the cancer researchers have come a long way over the past century, only that lives are at stake. One of the glaring problem with the medical profession is the self limited number of Accredited Med School slots. If computer engineers had the same professional requirements as AMA, there would be no place for Jobs, Dell, Ellison and Gates. In the book, it mentioned that Jews were not admitted to Harvard Med school in the 20's. Farber, a Jew, was credited as the father of modern chemotherapy. Also shocking is the sky high costs in cancer treatments that require teams of MDs, supporting staffs, drugs and equipments for those cases in the film.

Sep 22, 2016

Comprehensive look at the history of cancer research. Informative viewing. Not much on prevention though. Was prevention covered more in the book?

Sep 28, 2015

The documentary was as good as the book.

Aug 31, 2015

This program was brought to viewers like us by Bristol-Meyer Squibb, Genentech, Siemens and David H. Koch. While I do recommend this program, I find it interesting that there was only a mere 15-second section on _prevention_ of cancer. Perhaps more than a cursory approach would offended/challenged the sponsors?

May 20, 2015

This is the best documentary I have ever seen on the topic of cancer. It lays out the history of the treatment of cancer informatively and movingly. It's both heart-wrenching and hopeful, and I was satisfied by the amount of facts that I had never before encountered in popular science media. It wasn't a boring rehash of known bits and pieces. It was truly profound, and I am so glad that I took the time to watch every minute.


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May 31, 2017

Sep 02, 2015

Fisher: In God we trust. All others must have data. Proctor The tobacco industry really developed this strategy of creating doubt. It’s really quite brilliant because it’s not so often that they would say it – smoking does not cause disease. They would say it’s an open question. We need to keep an open mind. This becomes the longest running scientific fraud in the history of human civilization.
Bradfield (cancer survivor) Cancer’s a funny thing because once you have it – it sits like a little monkey on your shoulder ... There’s a little element of fear that never goes away

May 31, 2017

Sep 02, 2015

Hermann (narrator of film): Cancer is a worldwide scourge. The fastest growing disease on earth. By 2030 there will be as many as 22 million cases worldwide. Cancer afflicts 1.7 million Americans each year and kills 600,000 of them. More will die from cancer over the next 2 years than died in combat in all the wars the United States has ever fought ‒ combined.”
Brown: The bone marrow where we normally produce blood is kind of like your lawn and leukemia is like weeds so leukemia can overtake the normal grass and kill it. So it’s not enough just to mow the lawn. You’ve got to go and get the roots of all of the weeds and get all of the leukemia cells out in order for the grass to be healthy again. ... Today, more than half-a-century after Sidney Farber’s first chemotherapy trials, childhood leukemia has a survival rate of nearly 90%. The era of bold and ceaseless experimentation ‒ borne mostly by children ‒ led to the most elusive of achievements. A cure

May 31, 2017

Mukherjee (author and MD): The important thing is that the viral theory was not wrong. The environmental theory was not wrong. The hereditary theory was not wrong – they were just insufficient. It was like the blind man and the elephant. They were catching parts of the whole and then all of sudden – if you stepped back – you saw the whole elephant.
Hermann (narrator): Herceptin had extended the lives of women who had taken the drug by an average of 50% over those who had not with hardly any side effects. It was one of the most significant results in the history of cancer medicine. Bach: Getting cancer is one of the worst economic things that can happen to you in the United States.
Brawley: We did this [high-dose chemotherapy] in the United States for 15 years – transplanted more than 15,000 women – did it without clinical trials to actually show that it was beneficial. This is an example of how medical oncology and medicine just got totally out of hand.

May 31, 2017

DePinho: The cancer genome is exceedingly complex. Each cancer type contains anywhere from 50 to 100 recurrent amplifications and deletions. So while the progress of the past 20 years has been impressive, it’s also clear that we are dealing with the tip of the iceberg.
Mukherjee: Cancer cells are constantly mutating. In fact the cancer itself is evolving inside your body over time so that the genetic diversity of cancer at week zero is not the same as the genetic diversity of cancer, you know, 5 years or 10 years from now. It transforms the idea of treatment from a static idea to a dynamic idea.
Cole: As oncologists, we may not be curing everybody but we are – we’re helping people in a very important way. Healing is not always eternal life. You know, healing is sometimes – helping people have a good death. There’s some kind of healing in that too.

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