Cancer Documentary Based on Columbian Siddhartha Mukherjee’s Book Debuts on PBS March 30

Ken Burns Documentary is Based on Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book, “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies”

‘Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,’ with Prof. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Begins March 30 on PBS

A three-part, six-hour documentary series based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning cancer biography written by Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil, assistant professor of medicine at P&S, debuts on PBS stations March 30 and continues on March 31 and April 1.

The documentary, based on the book “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” (Simon & Schuster, 2010), is directed by Barak Goodman and executive produced by Ken Burns. It is part of a project that also includes nearly two dozen webcast short films by Redglass Pictures ( and a comprehensive national campaign with Stand Up To Cancer and other project supporters.

The documentary series was included in a Jan. 1, 2015, New York Times list of 20 Shows to Watch, A Winter Bounty for Serious TV Fans.”

The book and documentary tell 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.

WNYC, the national radio partner on the project, will present “Living Cancer,” a two-week series that begins Feb. 9 and will illustrate cancer research and treatment through personal stories of patients, doctors, and scientists. The series will air on NPR magazine shows, which are broadcast on public radio stations around the country. Some compelling voices in the series are available online. In March, “On the Media,” WNYC’s nationally distributed media analysis program, will air a special episode on cancer and the media, an important theme in Dr. Mukherjee’s book.

The website associated with the documentary,, includes produced and user-generated content that explores the three intermingled strands of the series: a historical documentary, a vérité film that focuses on current patients, and a scientific report. The website is intended for the vast cancer community of patients, survivors, family members, caregivers, scientists, clinicians, other health care providers, and the public at large.

The PBS documentary is narrated by the late actor Edward Herrmann, who died of brain cancer on Dec. 31, 2014.