Medicine: Rethinking Cancer

TED Studies, created in collaboration with Wiley, are curated video collections — supplemented by rich educational materials — for students, educators and self-guided learners. The speakers in Rethinking Cancer give the talk of their lives about the prevention, detection and treatment of one of the leading causes of death worldwide: cancer. In this course, you’ll question fundamental concepts about what cancer is and rethink how cancer research should be conducted. Relevant areas of interest, study and coursework include: Carcinogenesis, Oncology, Radiology, Pathology, Molecular Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Angiogenesis and Proteomics.

Learning outcomes

TED's Rethinking Cancer will enable learners to:

  • understand the huge burden of cancer within modern society and appreciate some of the reasons for this
  • learn how screening for cancer will become increasingly important, but understand the limitations of current technology and how links between biology and physics can meet this challenge
  • debate the mechanisms by which new technologies may be introduced into medical practice
  • appreciate the important role of surgery within the management of cancer and understand how multi-disciplinary teams have the potential to transform surgical practice
  • see how scientists are using many different approaches to control the growth of cancer, including suppressing the growth of new blood vessels that support tumour growth
  • understand the central importance of diet in determining our risk of cancer, and how dietary modification may allow the body to suppress cancer growth
  • realize how the spectrum of cancers within different tissues may give us clues as to how cancer growth is supported within the body, and how cancer stem cells may underlie the disease process
  • debate future funding models for cancer research and how initiatives such as crowdfunding may come to play an important role
  • understand the increasing importance of 'big data' and multi-disciplinary teams in controlling cancer in the 21st century.

Relevant talks

Introductory essay

Begin Rethinking Cancer with a fascinating read that gives context and clarity to the material.

About the educator

TED Studies educator: Paul Moss

Paul Moss is Head of the School of Cancer Sciences at the University of Birmingham. He was previously Chair of the Clinical and Translational Research Committee at Cancer Research UK, one of the world’s largest cancer charities.

About TED Studies

TED Studies created in partnership with
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Each TED Study offers a curated and sequenced set of TED Talks, along with specially commissioned materials for teaching and self-guided learning. Created by world class experts, they cover topics ranging from "Understanding Happiness" to "Covering World News" to "Ecofying Cities." An abbreviated version of TED Studies is offered here; the full curricula — including special modules on each talk with questions, assignments, key terms and recommended reading — are available for licensing to academic institutions, ministries of education, and media companies worldwide.

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