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The cultural message: fight, fight, fight

The Wall Street Journal reviewed our upcoming film, which will be broadcast on PBS next Wednesday.

The review says the film is "not for the faint of heart," since it's not a documentary focused on survivors who beat their illness.

This was an intentional choice, given the grim statistics on surviving cancer. Many articles, reports, and programs focus on the survivors. "There is no sugar coating here," reports The Wall Street Journal.

"The most powerful message of 'The Truth About Cancer' is one that emerges subtly, through the story of pancreatic-cancer patient Jamie. We first notice it when she talks about 'a pressure to survive.' What she means becomes clear when we see her dealing with her father, who urges her to get a second opinion and insists that her doctor is less optimistic than he should or could be. Jamie duly seeks that second opinion, but only to make her father happy. She knows that nothing will save her life. Yet as hard to accept as that is, the sense that by accepting it she is giving up, or people will lable her a loser, deeply upsets her too. Doctors know how unfair such pressure can be. As some point out, 'the cultural message is to fight, fight, fight' and 'If I'm smart, and strong enough, I'm going to beat it.' But what about respecting those who have no real medical options and summon their strength to face their destiny? We signify those who come through as 'survivors,' Jamie tells the camer the last time we see her: 'We need a word for the others.'"

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