Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, tells the story of cancer, from its description in an ancient Egyptian scroll to the gleaming laboratories of modern research institutions. The first of the three part series aired last night on PBS and has generated much discussion.
“The vulnerability is already within us,” explains Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, “The very genes that make you grow, the very genes that keep you alive, will under different circumstances kill you.” This final episode is also noteworthy for its exploration of one difficult issue: the rising cost of cancer drugs.
“Getting cancer is one of the worst economic things that can happen to you in the United States,” says Pater Bach, an epidemiologist with Memorial Sloan Kettering. In fact, 65% of patients with an advanced stage medical illness say that their financial situation is their greatest concern (Pace Perception Index: A global Public Opinion Poll, October 2012).
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