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“Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies” begins March 30 on WSRE

Posted by Mary Riker on

Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast, will air “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” the three-part, six-hour documentary series directed by award-winning filmmaker Barak Goodman and executive produced by Ken Burns, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 30 through April 1 at 8 p.m. The series is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” (Simon & Schuster 2010) by Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D.

“Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies” tells the comprehensive story of cancer from its first description in an ancient Egyptian scroll to the gleaming laboratories of modern research institutions. The film interweaves a sweeping historical narrative with intimate stories about contemporary patients and an investigation into the latest scientific breakthroughs that may have brought us, at long last, within sight of lasting cures.

Three two-hour episodes chronicle the epic centuries-long search for a cure, the introduction of chemotherapy and the eventual full-scale national “war on cancer” and explore moments of optimism and the exciting prospect of harnessing the human immune system to defeat cancer.  

The film project began in 2010. Hollywood producer Laura Ziskin (Pretty Women, Spider-Man), a Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) co-founder, wanted to produce a documentary about cancer from the time she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Ziskin read an advanced copy of the book and contacted Dr. Mukherjee, who awarded the rights to the Entertainment Industry Foundation on behalf of SU2C in December 2010. Simultaneously, WETA president and CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller read the book during her treatment for cancer at The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore. Shortly thereafter, Rockefeller connected with Burns, who lost his mother to cancer when he was 11. The two connected with Ziskin, and in early 2011 brought on filmmaker Goodman. (Ziskin, who lived with cancer for seven years, died in June 2011.)

In conjunction with film, WETA (Washington, D.C.)—one of the largest producing stations of new content for public television in the United States—has launched, an expansive website with many interactive and social media components that allows the vast cancer community of patients and survivors, family members, caregivers, scientists, clinicians and other healthcare providers, as well as the public at large, to share their stories and experiences. Participants can share their stories now at, engage with the project on Twitter via @CancerFilm or #CancerFilm and visit the project on Facebook at

PHOTO NOTE: Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee and Ken Burns

View the trailer:

Media Relations Contact:
Mary Riker
(850) 484-1211