Karen Garloch

Charlotte gets free preview of Ken Burns cancer documentary

Dr. Rene Herlong is a pediatric cardiologist at the Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute of Carolinas HealthCare System.
Dr. Rene Herlong is a pediatric cardiologist at the Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute of Carolinas HealthCare System. N.C. MEDICAL SOCIETY

“The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2011. And now, Ken Burns has made a documentary based on the book by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee.

The film will air over three nights on PBS stations from March 30 to April 1. But Charlotteans can get a free preview at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

The documentary describes the history of cancer, including blood cancers, which affect more than 1 million people in the United States and are the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in this country. The state chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is partnering with WTVI to offer the screening.

“Leukemia surfaces very early in the book. It was one of the first cancers to be diagnosed,” said Emily Blust, executive director of the state chapter.

The disease also plays a prominent role in the film, Blust said. “The documentary is about all cancer, but blood cancers have been the basis for a great deal of research that has gone on to help people living with all types of cancer.… Multiple researchers featured in the film, over the last 65 to 70 years, have been funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.”

From 2000 to 2013, almost 40 percent of new anti-cancer drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration were first approved for blood cancer patients.

Vote for best doc

The North Carolina Medical Society wants your vote for Doctor of the Year.

Two of 10 finalists in the society’s first contest are from the Charlotte area. They are Dr. Rene Herlong, a pediatric cardiologist at the Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute in Charlotte, and Dr. Maureen Murphy, a family physician at Cabarrus Family Medicine in Concord.

Other finalists, selected from more than 120 doctors nominated by patients and colleagues, are: Ogie Asemota, a Fayetteville pediatrician; Alan Carlson, Duke Eye Center; Lisa David, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center; Edgardo Diez, CarePartners Rehabilitation Hospital, Asheville; Ben Fischer, Raleigh Medical Group; Gloria Graham, Eastern Dermatology and Pathology, Morehead City; Mark Heffington, MERCI Clinic, New Bern; and Joseph Murad, a Greenville obstetrician-gynecologist.

Vote online at www.ncdoctorsday.org. The winner, to be announced March 30, will receive $5,000 for a medical mission.

Garloch: 704-358-5078

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