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Living Cancer

WNYC

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New York, NY

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Podcasts

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WNYC

Language:

English


Episodes

The Cancer Show: Part 2

4/3/2015
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Today, the impact of cancer is not limited to patients and loved ones, not confined to hospital wards and research labs. It's a powerful symbol appropriated by Hollywood, the news media, and every realm of expression to signify what we most fear. In the second hour of "The Cancer Show," the stories we tell about cancer: on stage, on the big screen, and online. This week’s On The Media is part of WNYC’s Living Cancer Series, a radio companion to “Ken Burns Presents Cancer: The Emperor of...

Duration:00:51:56

Eight Months and $100,000 Later, the Reality of Cancer Treatment Hits Hard

3/27/2015
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Melinda Townsend-Breslin keeps a photo of herself on her refrigerator standing with her mother, MaryLou Townsend, in the front of the Unique Thrift Store in Louisville, Ky. They're side by side in the parking lot, both wearing white T-shirts and sporting short, practical haircuts. Mom is proudly showing her discount card. "For the thrift store!" said Townsend-Breslin, laughing. "The discount for the thrift store!" For Townsend-Breslin, this photo captures her mother: a frugal woman with...

Duration:00:08:27

The Cancer Show: Part I

3/27/2015
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Over the last 2,500 years, cancer has shifted from a disease in the shadows to one at the center of scientific research and public discussion. In the first of two special episodes, On the Media dives deep into the way we talk about cancer: in the news, in the hospital, and in our private lives. This week’s On The Media is part of WNYC’s Living Cancer Series, a radio companion to “Ken Burns Presents Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, coming to PBS March 30. Support for Living Cancer is...

Duration:00:53:05

Living Cancer: Precision Medicine

3/26/2015
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Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute, Nobel Prize-winning scientist, and former president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, discusses the study of genomics in the treatment of cancer. Then, Susan Gubar, distinguished professor emerita of English at Indiana University, the "Living With Cancer" columnist for The New York Times and the author of Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012), fields your calls about how to...

Duration:00:33:38

Why a Skin Cancer Drug Is Treating This Woman’s Brain Tumor

3/26/2015
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In November 2013, MaryAnn Anselmo was recovering from a horrific traffic accident. She's a jazz singer, who lives with her husband, Joseph Anselmo, in Morganville, New Jersey. During her recovery, she started feeling dizzy one afternoon, and her husband insisted she go back to the doctor. An MRI revealed that she had a glioblastoma, a brain tumor. “You start doing research on that type of tumor and you’re saying, ‘Oh my god, you’re history.’ It’s like a death sentence,” Anselmo...

Duration:00:07:37

The Scariest Video Game Villain of All: Cancer

3/26/2015
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Amy and Ryan Green grew up in Loveland, Colorado. They were high school sweethearts living a charmed life. Until 2010, when their one-year-old, Joel, was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery, Joel needed radiation, which stunted his intellectual growth. But that turned out to be kind of a blessing, since it meant Joel was unaware of how sick he was. “It was sweet in a way, because he was our baby for five years,” Amy says. “But you always wanted to know him more than you could know...

Duration:00:09:35

When Stage IV Cancer Lasts 15 Years

3/25/2015
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Dixie Josephson was 56 when she was diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer. She’s 71 now, but the cancer is still with her. Josephson’s story is one shared by other fortunate cancer patients. Advances in treatment mean that people like Josephson can live longer with their disease. Still, the 5-year survival rate for metastatic ovarian cancer is 27 percent, putting Josephson in the minority. And the treatments that have extended her life have taken a toll on her and her family. “OK,...

Duration:00:08:27

Cancer Changed Ken Jeong's Comedy

3/25/2015
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Ken Jeong describes his role in the 2009 blockbuster The Hangover as "the most obscene love letter to a spouse one could ever have.” He peppered his dialogue with bits of Vietnamese as an inside joke with his wife Tran. Ken met his wife while they were both practicing medicine at the same hospital in Los Angeles. Ken had always done comedy on the side. He even performed midnight improv while he was working up to 100 hours a week during his medical residency. But after he and Tran married,...

Duration:00:25:01

The Story of Cancer

3/24/2015
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Director Barak Goodman and executive producer Ken Burns talk about the three-part documentary series “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” which tells the comprehensive story of the disease and our quest to understand it, treat it, and cure it. The film mixes history with intimate stories about patients and investigates the latest scientific breakthroughs that may bring us closer to lasting cures. The series airs on PBS March 30 - April 1.

Duration:00:32:58

The Two Leukemia Patients Whose Survival Revolutionized Cancer Treatment

3/24/2015
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When a child is diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia now, there is more than a 90 percent chance of survival. But when James Eversull was diagnosed in 1964, there wasn’t much hope. He was just 18 months old when his parents discovered what was wrong. He remembers overhearing his family and doctors discussing his illness when he got a bit older. “My nickname was ‘Jimmy,’ and they would say ‘Jimmy with cancer, Jimmy with cancer,’” said Eversull. “Because you say cancer back in the...

Duration:00:07:32

Why The War On Cancer Hasn't Been Won

3/23/2015
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When President Richard Nixon declared a war on cancer in 1971, there were high hopes that scientists were close enough to understanding the underlying causes that many cures were within reach. We obviously haven't won the war. In fact, a prominent cancer biologist argues that the conceptual framework for understanding cancer has come full circle over the past 40 years. MIT biologist Robert Weinberg made that provocative comment in an essay he wrote last year for the journal Cell. He's a...

Duration:00:06:10

What Causes Breast Cancer? These Mothers and Daughters May Hold a Clue

2/11/2015
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Jenny Singleton got breast cancer at age 48. So did her mother, at age 66. “When my breast cancer was diagnosed, I immediately thought we must have a gene for it,” Jenny Singleton said. “So I was tested and I didn’t have the BRCA gene. And so that’s often left me wondering well, then why is it that my mom and I both got breast cancer?” Cancer susceptibility genes are estimated to account for only 5-10% of breast cancers overall. Now the Singletons and thousands of other families are part...

Duration:00:07:25

Finding the Causes of Cancer

2/11/2015
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Dr. Barbara Cohn, epidemiologist and director of the Child Health and Development Studies, a program of the Public Health Institute, tests pregnancy blood to see if environmental chemical exposure in utero eventually results in breast cancer in the child. She explains the links she's found, and what they tell us about cancer prevention. She is joined by Dr. Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health...

Duration:00:23:44

Pregnant, With Cancer

2/10/2015
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After years of debating whether to have a second child, my husband, Mark, and I decided to give it a try. Two weeks later, we found a lump. I was 35. When the diagnosis of breast cancer was made, we learned how treatment could affect fertility: chemo could jump-start menopause. Doctors wouldn't feel comfortable letting us try to get pregnant until I'd completed five years of hormone therapy. Even adoption agencies would want to see that I'd achieved five year post-cancer survival. We...

Duration:00:08:31

Changing Cancer Treatment

2/10/2015
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Immunotherapy has shown remarkable gains in treating cancer by harnessing the body’s own immune system, and Dr. Jedd Wolchok, chief of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is one of the leading researchers in the field. His patient, senior staff writer at Salon.com Mary Elizabeth Williams, is the beneficiary of an early immunotherapy trial, and her metastatic melanoma vanished after months of treatment. They join us in the studio to explain...

Duration:00:32:14

Talking About Cancer, Then and Now

2/10/2015
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Today, cancer tends to be spoken about with openness. But 60 years ago, the medical approach to the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer was frequently a matter of how to deliver the worst news in the best possible way. In the 1950s, WNYC Radio and The New York Academy of Medicine produced a series of "Cancer Alerts" for doctors. According to Dr. Harold Sage, a surgeon at Bellevue Hospital and member of the New York Cancer Society at the time, the medical community feared that a patient...

Duration:00:10:30

When Your Cancer Doctor Gives You ‘12 Months to Live,’ Here’s What That Really Means

2/10/2015
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(The SOUND in the room is normal. No more SLOW-MOTION. Walt looks up from the man's lapel.) DOCTOR: Mr. White. Mr. White? WALT: Yes. DOCTOR: You've understood what I've just said to you? WALT: Yes. Lung cancer. Inoperable. DOCTOR: I'm sorry, I just need to make sure you fully understand. WALT: Best-case scenario, with chemo, I'll live maybe another couple of years. (Off the man's gaze.) It's just, you've got mustard on your... (He points to his lapel.) You've got mustard there. Right...

Duration:00:07:30

Balancing Hope and Realism in Cancer Prognosis

2/10/2015
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Studies show cancer patients retain less than half of the information the doctor gives them in a prognosis. Dr. Philip Bialer, psychiatrist at Memorial Sloan Kettering and the interim director of COMSKIL, the communications skills research and training lab, discusses the accuracy of prognoses, and explains how doctors can do a better job communicating prognosis to patients.

Duration:00:25:02

For One Child, a Miracle Cancer Drug Is Hard to Come By

2/9/2015
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Treating cancer is a race against time. And every once in a while, there’s a drug in development that is so promising, patients plead with pharmaceutical companies to gain access before the FDA’s approval. That has been happening with a new class of drugs, called immunotherapy drugs – treatments that harness the immune system to fight cancer. Kathy Liu first heard about immunotherapy a few years ago at a conference focusing on the rare renal cancer her 10-year old son Joey was fighting....

Duration:00:11:03

Harnessing the Immune System to Fight Cancer

2/9/2015
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When Barbara Marder was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago, she had part of her right lung removed, went through a round of chemotherapy and tried to move on with her life. "I had hoped that everything was fine — that I would not create difficulty for my children; that I would get to see my grandchildren grow up," says Marder, 73, of Arnold, Md. But a routine scan a year later found bad news: The cancer was back — this time in her other lung. "I was very disappointed," says...

Duration:00:07:35