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CNN Classroom Edition: Saving Your Life

  • Story Highlights
  • Learn about the causes and symptoms of different types of cancer
  • Examine ways to prevent and treat different forms of cancer
  • Analyze cancer demographic data
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(CNN Student News) -- Record the CNN Classroom Edition: Saving Your Life when it airs commercial-free on Monday, October 8, 2007, from 4:00-- 5:00 a.m. ET on CNN. (A short feature begins at 4:00 a.m. and precedes the program.)

Program Overview

Cancer is a disease that touches most everyone in some way. In Saving Your Life, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta teams up with Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to deliver the latest news on ways to prevent cancer. This town hall forum provides stories of people, like Armstrong, who have faced the disease and survived and thrived.

Grade Levels: 7-12

Subject Areas: Health, Life Science, Mathematics, Current Events

Objectives

The CNN Classroom Edition: Saving Your Life and its corresponding discussion questions and activities challenge students to:

  1. Learn about the causes and symptoms of different types of cancer;
  2. Examine ways to prevent and treat different forms of cancer;
  3. Analyze cancer demographic data.

Curriculum Connections

Health

Standard 6. Understands essential concepts about nutrition and diet

Level III [Grade: 6-8]

Benchmark 1. Understands how eating properly can help to reduce health risks (in terms of anemia, dental health, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, malnutrition)

Standard 9. Understands aspects of substance use and abuse

Level III [Grade: 6-8]

Benchmark 3. Knows the short- and long-term consequences of the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs

Don't Miss

Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education (Copyright 2000 McREL) is published online by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) (http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/), 2550 S. Parker Road, Suite 500, Aurora, CO 80014; Telephone: 303/337-0990.

Science

Standard 5. Understands the structure and function of cells and organisms

Level III [Grade: 6-8]

Benchmark 1. Knows that all organisms are composed of cells, which are the fundamental units of life; most organisms are single cells, but other organisms (including humans) are multicellular

Benchmark 8. Knows that disease in organisms can be caused by intrinsic failures of the system or infection by other organisms

Level IV [Grade: 9-12]

Benchmark 1. Knows the structures of different types of cell parts and the functions they perform

Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education (Copyright 2000 McREL) is published online by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) (http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/), 2550 S. Parker Road, Suite 500, Aurora, CO 80014; Telephone: 303/337-0990.

Mathematics

Standard 6. Understands and applies basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis

Level III [Grade: 6-8]

Benchmark 6: Organizes and displays data using tables, graphs (e.g., line, circle, bar), frequency distributions, and plots (e.g., stem-and-leaf, box-and-whiskers, scatter)

Benchmark 8: Understands that the same set of data can be represented using a variety of tables, graphs, and symbols and that different modes of representation often convey different messages (e.g., variation in scale can alter a visual message)

Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education (Copyright 2000 McREL) is published online by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) (http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/), 2550 S. Parker Road, Suite 500, Aurora, CO 80014; Telephone: 303/337-0990.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is cancer? Approximately how many Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year? How many Americans die from cancer each day? How many cancer survivors live in the United States?
  2. For how long has the U.S. been fighting the "war against cancer"? According to the program, what gains have been made?
  3. According to Dr. Harold Freeman, the associate director of the National Cancer Institute, and Clifton Leaf, Senior Editor at Large for Fortune magazine, what needs to be done to improve the results for fighting cancer?
  4. Who is Lance Armstrong, and what role has he played in the war against cancer?
  5. Why is early detection of cancer important? What types of cancer screenings are described in the program? Why do you think that some people are reluctant to get cancer screenings? Do you think that there is a stigma associated with having cancer? Explain.
  6. According to Dr. Freeman, what is the correlation between race, poverty and cancer? What action has Dr. Freeman taken to help cancer patients in Harlem, New York? What is the Patient Navigation Program and why is it important?
  7. Do you think that it is possible for all Americans to have equal access to cancer screenings and cancer treatments, as Dr. Freeman advocates? If so, how might this be accomplished? If not, why not?
  8. What is a clinical trial? Why do you think that many cancer patients want to participate in clinical trials?
  9. What are some of the obstacles associated with developing drugs to treat rare "orphan" diseases, such as Ewing's sarcoma?
  10. How prevalent is cancer among children in the U.S.? Do you think that cancer patients under the age of 18 should be allowed to participate in clinical trials? Why or why not?
  11. On what aspects of cancer have researchers primarily focused? What is "metastasis"? Why is metastasis research important? According to Clifton Leaf, why haven't researchers focused on metastasis to the same extent as other aspects of cancer?
  12. Who are the cancer patients profiled in this program? What types of cancer do or did they have? How has having cancer impacted their lives? How has cancer impacted the loved ones of the patients profiled in the program?
  13. Do you know someone who has or has had cancer? If so, how has it impacted his or her life? Has cancer affected your life in some way? If so, how?
  14. What do you think are the greatest challenges that patients and their loved ones face when battling cancer?
  15. What are Dr. Sanjay Gupta's ten tips for avoiding cancer? What actions, if any, do you plan to take to reduce your risk of developing cancer?
  16. Where do you think the war on cancer ranks in terms of being a national priority? Do you think that this level of priority is appropriate? Why or why not?

Suggested Activities

1. How Common is Cancer?

Inform students that there are more than 100 different types of cancer, diseases that are caused by abnormal growth of body cells. According to the American Cancer Society:

  1. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease.
  2. This year alone, about 559,650 Americans, or more than 1,500 people a day, will die of cancer.
  3. Although childhood cancer is rare, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children aged 1-14, exceeded only by accidents.
  4. Cancer is expected to take the lives of 1,545 children aged 0-14 in 2007.

Then, direct students to the following Web site to review the American Cancer Society's report, "Cancer Facts and Figures: 2007": http://www.cancer.org/downloads/STT/CAFF2007PWSecured.pdf. Challenge students to analyze the data to identify:

  1. the most common types of cancers among men, women and children,
  2. which cancers have the highest mortality rates, and
  3. which cancers have the highest survival rates.

After students share their findings with the class, ask: What assumptions or conclusions, if any, can be made about cancer in the U.S. based on this information?

2. Understanding Different Types of Cancer

Point out to students that different types of cancer have different symptoms and risk factors and respond differently to different types of treatment. Have each student research a different type of cancer and prepare an oral report on their findings. Students should include the following information for their assigned types of cancer in their reports:

  1. signs and symptoms,
  2. risk factors,
  3. treatment options (which could include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, transplants, clinical trials, biological, hormonal, viral and complementary therapies and alternative therapies),
  4. goals of each treatment option,
  5. survival statistics, and
  6. methods of prevention.

After students complete their research, have them conduct a symposium on cancer, in which each student presents his or her report. Following the symposium, point out that, according to the World Health Organization, "at least one-third of all cancers can be prevented." Wrap up the activity by having students draw upon their research to develop a Web site or a brochure that focuses on prevention and early detection as the best weapons against cancer.

Extension: Following this activity, you may want to have students take the American Cancer Society's "Top 10 Cancer Myths Quiz" at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_11_1_Top_10_Cancer_Myths_Quiz.asp

Keywords

Lance Armstrong, cancer, oncology, disease, malignant, benign, metastasis, diagnosis, tumor, clinical trials, leukemia, lymphoma, Ewing's sarcoma, thyroid, testes, breast cancer, colon cancer, chemotherapy, ovaries, radiation, lymph node, cells, survival rate, Food and Drug Administration, Orphan Drug Act, HPV vaccine E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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