Men and Cancer. Women and Cancer

Men & Cancer

WQED is proud to partner once again with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to bring you a new four-part series on Men & Cancer. Just as our previous series, Women & Cancer, focused on common cancers affecting females, this new series of special reports looks at cancers particularly common among men. Every year cancer claims the lives of nearly 300,000 men in America, yet there are ways to reduce the risk for some of the most common types of cancer. We look at the warning signs, treatments, and early detection tests for testicular, colorectal, prostate and esophageal cancers. The facts all men, and those who love them, should know about cancer prevention and care are covered in these four in-depth reports featuring local survivors and their health care providers. See more detailed descriptions of the individual reports below.

Colorectal Cancer


It’s the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. But death rates are going down, in part because more people are being screened and having polyps removed before they become cancerous. This feature focuses on the importance of early detection and the story of a landscape company owner in Apollo, Armstrong County who was shocked at being diagnosed with rectal cancer at the age of 34.

Prostate Cancer


It’s one of the most common cancers found in American men. But for African American men, the chances of being diagnosed with prostate cancer are even greater. That’s why doctors recommend screening begin at age 40 for black men. This feature focuses on a retired school teacher from Sharon, Mercer County whose prostate cancer was discovered during a routine physical exam and how his doctor used laparoscopic robotic surgery to treat the disease.


Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is a rare disease. But it is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35. We talk with a graphic designer who was just 21 when he had to put life on hold to battle the disease. His doctors from the Allegheny Health Network walk us through his treatment plan, which included three surgeries and a year of chemotherapy. We’ll also explain what men can do to catch this cancer early and why many put off seeing the doctor.

Esophageal Cancer

While rates for some cancers are falling, cases of esophageal cancer are rising. And this cancer is especially more common in men than women. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, weight loss, heart burn, coughing, hoarseness, even hiccups – symptoms that can be associated with less-serious illnesses. Additionally, most esophageal cancers do not cause symptoms until they have reached an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat. Experts discuss the latest treatment options and how to reduce the risk of developing this dangerous condition.

Women & Cancer

WQED is pleased to partner with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to bring you these special reports on "Women & Cancer." According to the American Cancer Society, getting the facts about cancer is an important step in taking care of your overall health. This four-part series looks at the latest techniques in preventing, detecting and treating some of the most common cancers affecting women: skin, ovarian, lung and breast cancers. It also examines efforts to improve the quality of life for cancer patients after treatment. More detailed descriptions of our in-depth reports are listed below.

Skin Cancer

We begin this four part series with a look at an aggressive and sometime fatal form of skin cancer. More than 9,000 Americans are expected to die this year of melanoma. We talk to a local skin cancer specialist about prevention, treatment and who’s at risk for melanoma. We also talk to a two-time survivor who is fighting back by spreading awareness of the disease.

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. But with aggressive surgery techniques and advancements in chemotherapy, more women are surviving the disease. WQED talks with Julie McMullen, a young mother who beat the disease and went on to conceive a child. Another local woman, Elaine Becker, shares her story of beating the odds, despite a long family history of cancer. We also sit down with Elaine’s niece, Emily Liszka, who discovered that she carries a genetic alteration that greatly increases her chance of getting ovarian cancer. Those women, and their doctors at the Allegheny Health Network, talk about their diagnoses, how they are alive today, and why despite the statistics, there is hope.

Lung Cancer


It’s become the leading cause of cancer death among women. But, more and more women are becoming lung cancer survivors thanks to early detection through CT screening, and better treatment. WQED’s Michael Bartley introduces you to a local lung cancer survivor and her team of cancer specialists at Allegheny General Hospital.

Breast Cancer

Every woman has a story. A different stage of diagnosis. A different course of treatment. But there is something they all have in common, dealing with life after breast cancer. It can be a difficult transition. WQED’s Tonia Caruso talks with two local women who are finding their way and finding happiness after trying ordeals. Plus a look at some of the latest advancements in treatments and how, in some patients, even if it can’t be cured, cancer can be treated as a chronic illness.

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