|Cancer is built into us: the genes that unmoor normal cell division are not foreign to our bodies but rather mutated, distorted versions of the very genes that allow us to grow, to adapt, to recover, to repair – to live. Malignant growth and normal growth are so genetically intertwined that unbraiding the two is one of the most significant scientific challenges faced by our species. If we seek immortality, then so, too, in a rather perverse sense, does the cancer cell. —Siddhartha Mukherjee|
It is the longest running war in human history. Fought with razor-sharp scalpals, invisible rays, and lethal poisons, its battlegrounds are deep within the human cell. Its casualties number in the hundreds of millions – nearly one in two men, and one in three women will fight cancer directly; nearly all of us will feel its collateral damage. The story of the war on cancer spans centuries and continents. It is a scientific story, but also a deeply human one: of doctors, researchers, and patients who through courage, suffering, and occasional hubris pushed the boundaries of knowledge. These people helped define cancer as the scourge of the modern age, and then mobilized the federal government and private industry to wage an all-out campaign against it – a campaign we are still fighting. The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, tells the complete story of cancer, from its first appearance in the fossilized remains of dinosaurs to the gleaming laboratories of modern research institutions. At six hours, the film interweaves a sweeping historical documentary; with intimate profiles of current patients; and an investigation into the latest scientific breakthroughs that may have brought us, at long last, to the brink of effective treatments. The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies is directed by Barak Goodman and Executive Produced by Ken Burns, who is also the senior creative consultant. The film is written by Goodman, Burns, David Blistein and Geoffrey Ward. Executive Producers are Burns, Dalton Delan, David Thompson, and Pamela Williams.