Free Cancer Course Available Through iTunes U

Hi, Everyone –

“Introduction to the Science of Cancer” (ISOC) is a free, noncredit, online course that I helped develop in the course of my work at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

ISOC is designed for people who have limited knowledge of science but who want a better understanding of cancer. It could be especially useful to nursing and medical students, hospital staff, secondary-school teachers, social workers and community-health personnel and reporters and editors.

During the course, more than 30 OSUCCC – James oncologists and researchers explain key cancer-related concepts in accessible, user-friendly terms. Content includes downloadable slides and readings, along with supplemental information.

You can view the course at Taking the course and downloading the materials requires an Apple ID and the iTunes U app. Both are free.

In 2012, an estimated 14.1 million people developed cancer worldwide, and 8 million people died of it. The number of cancer cases is expected to grow to 22 million in the next 20 years due to growth and aging of the world population. Sixty percent of cancer cases and 70 percent of cancer deaths occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, which have few resources for cancer treatment.

 “The OSUCCC – James offers this free course to encourage a greater commitment to cancer prevention globally,” says Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. Caligiuri introduces each module and presents an overview of cancer research.

 “We believe that a sound understanding of cancer encourages a stronger commitment to cancer prevention by individuals, communities and nations, and leads to better cancer care,” he says. 

The course has five modules, each devoted to a specific topic, and each module has seven videos that explain key aspects within that topic. The videos range in length from 5 to 20 minutes, and the first video in each module provides an overview for that topic.  These overview videos, plus other selected videos, were used in two one-day cancer-education workshops for staff at St Albert’s hospital. See

Below is a list of the five modules and each video lecture. 

I’d be interested in reading comments you have about the course, how it might be improved or what additional information might make it more useful.

Thanks, everyone, and keep well…Darrell

Module 1: What is Cancer?

  • What is cancer?
  • Solid Tumors
  • Hematologic cancer
  • Childhood cancer
  • Anatomy of a cell
  • DNA, genes and chromosomes
  • Mutations and Changes That Lead to Cancer

Module 2: Diagnosis of Cancer

  • Diagnosis of cancer: An Overview
  • Tumor staging and grading
  • Genomics
  • Epigenetics
  • Imaging
  • Prognosis:  Predicting Patient Survival
  • Psychological Responses to a Cancer Diagnosis

Module 3: Treatment of Cancer

  • Cancer Treatment: An Overview
  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Immune therapy
  • Treatment Regimens

 Module 4: Prevention of Cancer

  • Preventing Cancer – An Overview
  • Tobacco and Cancer
  • Alcohol and Cancer
  • Diet and Cancer
  • Infections and Cancer
  • Screening and Vaccination
  • Heredity and Cancer

Module 5: Cancer Research

  • Cancer Research: An Overview
  • Basic Research
  • Population Science Research
  • Preclinical Research
  • Clinical Trials and Informed Consent
  • Correlative Research
  • Discovery to Clinical Trials
  • Course Recap


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