Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker Linda Garmon Takes on the Question “How Far Have We Come in the War on Cancer?”

News Journalist and Cancer Survivor Linda Ellerbee Hosts Post-Broadcast Panel Discussion

What is the truth about cancer? Is it the same deadly killer it was 30 years ago – or are we making progress? Find out through the poignant stories of patients battling the disease. Written, produced, and directed by award-winning filmmaker Linda Garmon, The Truth About Cancer premieres nationally on PBS Wednesday, April 16, at 9:00pm ET (check local listings).
Comprised of a 90-minute documentary followed by a 30-minute panel discussion, the two-hour broadcast event takes a deep look inside the cancer field gauging how far we have come in this decades-old war and asking, “Why does anyone still die of cancer?”

Part science, part personal catharsis, part character-driven storytelling, The Truth About Cancer is narrated by Garmon, who tells the moving story of her husband’s battle with cancer. Over the course of the film, Garmon returns to the same Boston-area hospitals at which her husband was treated, and exposes startling truths about survival rates of metastisized cancers, and the limited success of drugs and clinical trials. Interwoven throughout are the stories of three additional cancer patients, and their families and doctors, as they navigate the deeply personal decisions surrounding the disease. The documentary also follows several medical professionals working to promote screening, research the latest developments in cancer treatment, and help patients and their families live with a cancer diagnosis.

“This film makes it clear that it’s very much a part of American culture to believe that if you fight hard enough, you can beat cancer. But when it comes to having metastatic cancer, your survival depends on the biology of your cancer cells, and whether they are susceptible to state-of-the-art treatment,” says Garmon. “In sharing my husband’s story and the stories of other patients, I hope to shed light on this important truth.”

The Truth About Cancer is the third installment of PBS’s Take One Step-a campaign offering primetime programming and outreach tools to help people take the first step towards better health. Following the 90-minute documentary is a 30-minute panel discussion entitled Take One Step: A Conversation About Cancer with Linda Ellerbee. News journalist and breast cancer survivor Linda Ellerbee moderates the dialogue featuring a panel of doctors, all of whom are cancer survivors themselves. Having sat on both sides of a cancer diagnosis, the panel shares their unique perspectives, offering both personal and professional observations on how to handle a cancer diagnosis, what to say to loved ones, how to advocate for yourself, and how to best live your life, with cancer. Panelists include U.S. News and World Report health editor Dr. Bernadine Healy; breast cancer surgeon and Breast Cancer Research stamp mastermind Dr. Ernie Bodai; neurologist and leading palliative care expert Dr. Richard Payne; and counseling psychologist Dr. Paul Brenner.

The Truth About Cancer is a Carousel Films LLC Production for WGBH Boston.
Laurie Donnelly is Executive Producer for WGBH. Funding for The Truth About Cancer is provided by Susan G. Komen For The Cure and the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.

About WGBH Boston
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of one-third of PBS’s primetime lineup and companion online content as well as many public radio favorites. WGBH is a pioneer in educational multimedia (including the Web, broadband, and interactive television) and in technologies and services that make media accessible for people with disabilities. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, DuPont-Columbia Awards-even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a special institutional Peabody Award for fifty years of excellence.
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Media Contact:
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WGBH Boston

Photography Contact:
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WGBH Boston