Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

Memorial Family of Services is joining with KCTS9 in Seattle to host a preview screening of the film, “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies” on Tuesday, March. 24. This three-part, six-hour television miniseries is presented by preeminent documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and directed by award-winning filmmaker Barak Goodman. The March 24 event offers a sneak peak into the film, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

What can you tell us about the film?

The film is based on the Pulitzer prize-winning book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of Medicine for Hematology and Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center. He has said in interviews that he was compelled to write the book when a patient asked, “What is it that I’m fighting?”

This book really is a history of cancer:

  • from the ancient Greeks who believed cancer was a “black bile” in the body
  • to the 1950s, when a woman couldn’t place an advertisement in The New York Times for a breast cancer survivors group because it used the words “breast” and “cancer;” instead, the newspaper suggested they refer to it as “diseases of the chest wall”
  • to the research and clinical trials that are being done today

The film shares some of that history, but also personal stories of the scientists who made cancer research their mission, as well as those of cancer survivors and caregivers. It’s the most comprehensive documentary on a single disease ever made.

We will be hosting a 40-minute preview screening of the film at The Seasons Performance Hall, 101 N. Naches Ave. in Yakima. Following the film screening, we will hold a panel discussion featuring a medical oncologist, Dr. Vicky Jones, a local cancer survivor and a local caregiver – a gentleman whose wife has cancer.

What is the goal of this event?

We view this community event as an opportunity to foster discussion about cancer. It’s an opportunity to put aside the superstitions and the myths and the fears about cancer and talk about where we are with the disease today and where we’re going.

Our goal, first and foremost, is to educate everyone about cancer. At some point in our lives, we are all likely to be touched by this disease – either to be diagnosed with it ourselves or to have someone we know and love touched by it.

This event presents a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the film, which will be airing on KCTS9 over three evenings – March 30, 31 and April 1 – as well as learn from and participate in discussion about cancer care from people who experience it firsthand.

Do I need to register for this event?

This event is free and open to the public. Space is available first come, first serve. Registration is not required, but we are asking people to RSVP on our Eventbrite page. You can reach it at

For more information about the film and to see personal stories from the filmmakers, cancer researchers, cancer survivors and caregivers for loved ones who have had the disease, visit


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