Alarming, Yet Uplifting Information in PBS Cancer Documentary
History has taught us many lessons. Studying the past can help us progress, and can prevent us from repeating mistakes. Recently on PBS, there was an excellent history and status report on cancer: ‘Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,’ written by oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee and produced by Ken Burns. Mukherjee’s reasons for writing the book was because he was confused on where we are now versus where we have been in the treatment of cancer. How could we talk about the future, if we don’t know the past?
Cancer has been recognized as a disease for centuries. Part of that time it was thought that nothing could be done to treat it, and there was no cure for it. Cancer was thought of as a disease with “too much humors,” balance of the body was out of synch.
During this three-part documentary, many fascinating ideas were explored, and future directions were explained in a way that could be understood by all of us. The fact that more people will die from cancer in the next two years than from all the wars that have ever been fought, is a sobering reality.
The numbers alone are staggering:
- 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year;
- 1 in 2 men will have cancer in their lifetime;
- 1 in 3 women will have cancer in their lifetime;
- 600 thousand people die a year from cancer.
Although the numbers are frightening, the documentary was uplifting. To see where we have been, and how far we have come in cancer care today is amazing. To gain more insight into cancer and the progress being made, visit the PBS website to find out where you can watch the series.
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