Thinking Ahead: From 'The Emperor Of All Maladies' To Precision Medicine In Cancer

April 1, 2015 12:51 PM

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Watching the documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, an oncologist might find herself transported by the history, reminders of old hospital wards, early chemotherapies like VAMP, medical ethics and how hard it is for some kind doctors to enroll patients in clinical trials. There’s a lot in this program, directed by Ken Burns and based on Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s winning book, which resumes this and tomorrow evening on PBS.

I was taken by scenes in the pediatric oncology wards. The filmmakers focused on two contemporary patients: a girl and a boy. As the documentary moves along, we follow their cases replete with decisions, consent forms, the kids’ medical ups and downs, and their parents’ real-life concerns. Spoiler: ...

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