Cancer coming to your television

The longer you live, the more likely you are to get cancer. Therefore, party hard and burn out young. Wait, no, that’s not the lesson: therefore, you should all learn about cancer, and a good starting point is The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. I’ve recommended it before, and I’ve used it as assigned reading in a biology of cancer course, so you know I think highly of it.

But, you say, it’s so long. It is a rather substantial text. But there is going to be an alternative.

The Emperor of All Maladies has been made into a three-part television documentary! You must watch it. This is a required assignment.

Watch for it on 30,31 March and 1 April, on your PBS station.


  1. brett says

    It is a very good book. And you’re right – that basically is the conclusion of the book. If you live long enough, sooner or later enough genetic damage will accumulate such that you’ll get some form of cancer or another (unless you happen to be a naked mole rat). Actually “curing” cancer would require a subtle way to eliminate tumors and repair that genetic damage, although you might be able to suppress it with stuff that targets cancer cells and kills off tumors as they pop up (like the immunotherapies they’re experimenting with, which I really hope pan out).

  2. says

    Ah, so it’s actual science and informative and all? I thought it was just a “send us money” thing from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, when it landed in my inbox this AM. (I tend to delete the L&LS stuff unread. I should really just get off their mailing list).

  3. numerobis says

    “We’re sorry, but this video is not available in your region due to right restrictions.”

    Congratulations, DRM, you have blocked an interested person from viewing the ad for a product.

  4. nelliebly says

    Wondering if someone who’s seen the video can give me a view on this. My Mum died of cancer last year, we’re coming up to the anniversary and it’s still pretty raw – does the video have pictures or footage of cancer sufferers in it? I’m asking because I think that might be too much for me personally to cope with right now.

  5. nelliebly says

    @Eamon Knight

    Ah thank you, I might steer clear for a bit then. Thanks for the help.

  6. ShowMetheData says

    Reminds me of another 3-part series – Your Inner Fish – great look at evolution by one of the guys (Neil Shubin) who discovered the Tiktaalik (reptile-mammal transitional fossil)
    He is a fish paleontologist – and he used that information to teach human anatomy to medical students.
    I bought that through iTunes for the high-def Watched it 5 times so far

  7. natashatasha says

    “We’re sorry, but this video is not available in your region due to right restrictions.”
    But it’s a required assignment :(

  8. sirbedevere says

    There’s a just a handful of of books on my bookshelf that I’ve read 4 or 5 times which I keep because I know I’m going to read each one several more times. The Emperor of All Maladies is one of them. When I recommend it to people they’re often hesitant because it’s about cancer. I tell them it’s one of the most inspiring books you’ll ever read. Despite all the shitty things going on in the world, this book can make you be proud to be a member of the species that’s made the discoveries and done the things described in its pages.

  9. kallyfudge says

    I’ve read this book about 3 times, it is brilliant. I say I’ve read it but I actually listened to the audio-book. That means I listened to each word in order and it sounds like something I would like to read. The only downside is for me it seamed fairly american biased. But I didn’t know much about cancer or the history of fighting cancer until I read this book. As a physicist – getting deep into medical physics (PET scanning) at the time it made me want to be a biologist or medic. Its an awesome book. Or at least it sounds like one.

    So if you don’t have time to read this book then listen to it whilst walking or in bed (or walking in bed?). you get the picture.

  10. David Marjanović says

    the Tiktaalik (reptile-mammal transitional fossil)

    …No; Tiktaalik is part of the origin of tetrapods (limbed vertebrates), not mammals (a small branch of tetrapods).

  11. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Saw the schedule for PBS this week. Three two hour episodes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, 3/30-4/1, both out of Milwaukee and Chicago. The Eye-TV is set to record….