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TED Talks You Need to Watch if You Have Breast Cancer

PJ Hamel Jan 7th, 2015 (updated May 29th, 2015)
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TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit whose mission is, simply put, to spread ideas worldwide. The organization is best known for its series of short (18 minutes or less), engaging talks covering areas as diverse as science, world culture, and medicine. The following seven TED talks focus on breast cancer.

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Experiments refute beliefs about cancer growth
Experiments refute beliefs about cancer growth

Breast cancer researcher Mina Bissell details a series of lab experiments that threaten to turn a long-held theory – that cancer springs from mutated genes within a cell – on its head. Instead, Bissell believes that cells become cancerous when their microenvironment is “injured” – and that these same cells can become healthy again when their environment returns to normal. Watch Mina Bissel's video here.

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The highly effective screening tool you're not getting
The highly effective screening tool you're not getting

Internist Dr. Deborah Rhodes explains a type of breast cancer screening, molecular breast imaging, that’s twice as accurate as the standard mammogram for women with dense breasts – and then reveals why this screening, though FDA approved, has yet to be made available to the public. Watch Deborah Rhodes' video here.

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A new type of cancer detection
A new type of cancer detection

“Catching cancer early is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet cure,” says Jorge Soto. Soto leads a group of scientists and technologists from around the world that’s developed an “easier, cheaper, smarter, and more accessible” cancer detection tool: a simple, inexpensive blood test that can identify the presence of four types of cancer – including breast cancer – before any symptoms appear. Watch Jorge Soto's video here.

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A new way to look at cancer
A new way to look at cancer

Cancer doctor David Agus discusses a new and radical way of looking at cancer: as a complex system, rather than mass mutations of individual cells. Agus advocates a whole-body approach to cancer treatment, relying on computer modeling to help researchers identify what they’re up against – and ultimately how to control and defeat it. Watch David Agus' video here.

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Who controls your cancer treatment?
Who controls your cancer treatment?

Baba Shiv uses his young wife’s breast cancer journey to examine the decision-making process.  Is “being in the driver’s seat,” being in control, better than being in the passenger’s seat? A series of studies has shown that there are times when those who allow others to take control are ultimately more successful – and Shiv applies this knowledge to his wife’s cancer treatment. Watch Shiv's video here.

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The healing touch: are we losing it?
The healing touch: are we losing it?

Stanford physician and writer Abraham Verghese gives a stirring talk on the importance of the physical exam, the “power of the human hand,” a “transcendent, transformative ritual at the heart of the patient/physician relationship.” Through a series of historical moments involving hands-on medicine, as well as personal anecdote, Verghese espouses the personal touch – and pleads that it not give way to scans and blood tests. Watch Verghese's video here.

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A dance with cancer
A dance with cancer

Award-winning classical Indian dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant learned at the age of 43 that she had breast cancer. Accompanied by this “unwelcome, uninvited new life partner,” she danced a few weeks after surgery, danced through chemo, and through radiation – using dance “to go to a place of healing, health, and happiness.” Watch Jayant's video here.