Aired Wednesday April 16th, 2008 at 8:00 pm
Jamie Klayman has battled metastatic pancreatic cancer
What is the truth about cancer? Is it the same deadly killer it was 30 years ago - or are we making progress? THE TRUTH ABOUT CANCER, which answers the questions through the poignant stories of patients battling the disease, airs Wednesday, April 16, at 8 p.m. on KUED-Channel 7. Comprising a 90-minute documentary followed by a 30-minute panel discussion, the two-hour broadcast takes a deep look inside the cancer field, gauging how far we have come in this decades-old war and asking, "Why does anyone still die of cancer?"
Part science, part personal catharsis, part character-driven storytelling, THE TRUTH ABOUT CANCER is narrated by producer, writer and director Linda Garmon, who tells the moving story of her husband's battle with cancer. Over the course of the film, Garmon returns to the same Boston-area hospitals at which her husband was treated and exposes startling truths about survival rates of metastasized cancers and the limited success of drugs and clinical trials.
Interwoven throughout are the stories of three additional cancer patients, as well as their families and doctors, as they navigate the deeply personal decisions surrounding the disease. The documentary also follows several medical professionals working to promote screening, research the latest developments in cancer treatment and help patients and their families live with a cancer diagnosis.
"This film makes it clear that it's very much a part of American culture to believe that if you fight hard enough, you can beat cancer. But when it comes to having metastatic cancer, your survival depends on the biology of your cancer cells and whether they are susceptible to state-of-the-art treatment," says Garmon. "In sharing my husband's story, and the stories of other patients, I hope to shed light on this important truth."
THE TRUTH ABOUT CANCER is the third installment of PBS's Take One Step - and KUED's Health Matters campaigns, offering primetime programming and outreach tools to help people take the first step towards better health. Following the 90-minute documentary is a 30-minute panel discussion called "Take One Step: A Conversation About Cancer With Linda Ellerbee."
News journalist and breast cancer survivor Linda Ellerbee moderates the dialogue featuring a panel of doctors, all of whom are cancer survivors themselves. Having sat on both sides of a cancer diagnosis, the panel members share their unique perspectives, offering both personal and professional observations on how to handle a cancer diagnosis, what to say to loved ones, how to advocate for yourself and how best to live your life with cancer.
Panelists include U.S. News and World Report health editor Dr. Bernadine Healy; breast cancer surgeon and Breast Cancer Research stamp mastermind Dr. Ernie Bodai; neurologist and leading palliative care expert Dr. Richard Payne; and counseling psychologist Dr. Paul Brenner.
More information about living with cancer and a list of pertinent local resources will be available at pbs.org/takeonestep/cancer in April. Following its broadcast premiere, the complete two-hour special will be made available, free of charge, on that Web site.
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