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Episode Two
Available March 31, 2015

The Blind Men & The Elephant

This episode picks up the story in the wake of the declaration of a “war on cancer” by Richard Nixon in 1971. In the lab, rapid progress is made in understanding the essential nature of the cancer cell, leading to the revolutionary discovery of the genetic basis of cancer. However, it is not until the late 1990s that the advances in research begin to translate into more precise targeted therapies. The episode intertwines the contemporary story of Dr. Lori Wilson, a surgical oncologist who is diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in both breasts.

Dr. Lori Wilson

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About Lori

Dr. Lori Wilson, a surgical oncologist at Howard University, was diagnosed with 2 types of cancer – one in each breast. She is forced to make decisions from the perspective of a patient, with the background of an oncologist, as she undergoes treatment.

Bernard Fisher

Explore additional content related to Bernard Fisher and his groundbreaking work as a breast cancer surgeon.

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About Bernard Fisher

Bernard Fisher, a Pittsburgh native born in 1918, was the chairman of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He was awarded the Albert Lasker award in 1985 for his work that began in the early 1950s. It included “groundbreaking” contributions to the treatment of breast cancer in standardizing the use of Keynes lumpectomy and radiation in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer. His research helped to advance treatment beyond the widespread use of the radical mastectomy.

In 1981 Bernard Fisher completed the NSABP-04 trial.

“The trial recruited 1,765 patients in thirty-four centers in the United States and Canada. Patients were randomized into three groups: one treated with the radical mastectomy, the second with the simple mastectomy, and the third with surgery followed by radiation. The rates of breast cancer recurrence, relapse, death, and distant cancer metastasis were statistically identical among all three groups.” *

* The Emperor of All Maladies – Siddhartha Mukherjee (pg. 201)

Bishop and Varmus

Explore additional content related to Bishop and Varmus and their breakthrough in cancer research.

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About Bishop and Varmus

J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus discovered the first confirmed oncogene (a gene that is identified as having the potential to cause cancer) in 1970, and termed “src” — pronounced sarc — as an abbreviation for sarcoma.

About Terri

Watch Terri's moving story of going through treatment for triple-negative breast cancer.

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About Terri

Terri Rodighiero was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, a difficult cancer to treat. Being a nurse herself, she was forced to make difficult decisions about her treatment in light of her diagnosis and medical background.

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Episode Two

"The Blind Men & The Elephant"

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