Preview Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

March 25, 2015 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment

I’ve watched a half dozen or so of the stories on that document how people cope with cancer, and each story ends with this statistic: 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer. Each time I read this fact I feel its weight and am reminded that every one of us will either endure an intimate battle with cancer at some point in our lives or know someone who has to fight the battle.

Ken Burns presents Cancer The Emperor of All Maladies logo

Airs March 30 – April 1 at 8 p.m. is the home of the new documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. The film airs March 30 – April 1 on Wisconsin Public Television, and the website is full of great content available to watch now.

While the film presents a comprehensive history of cancer, from its first description in ancient Egypt to the “war on cancer” in the ’70s to the gleaming laboratories of today’s research institutions, this film is unlike most from Ken Burns. Cancer is more than just a history documentary. Three films in one, it also weaves in a scientific and investigative report, and an engrossing an intimate vérité film.

The real-life stories will give the 1 in 2 men and the 1 in 3 women dealing with cancer an outlet for their grief and anger, and will help them make sense of what seems like a hopeless situation. And for the families and friends of cancer patients, it will offer a better understanding of cancer’s impact, the treatment process and what’s going on in the minds of our loved ones.

In short, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies will give people a better understanding of cancer and will enable them to feel more comfortable talking about it. To quote Ken Burns, “As much as you want to move away from it, you have to move toward it.”

Start your journey now. Visit now to see several inspirational stories, like Pam Cromwell’s “Fight Cancer on Your Own Terms” and Angelo Merendino’s “Life in Pictures” which documents the final weeks of his wife’s life.

Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, a new three-part, six-hour television event, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, premieres 8 p.m. Monday, March 30 on WPT and will be available to watch online at

See what’s being done to fight cancer at the University of Wisconsin. Watch innovative lectures on University Place from Wisconsin Public Television.

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