Free Online Cancer Course Offered by The Ohio State University

Hi, Everyone –

“Introduction to the Science of Cancer” (ISOC) is a free, noncredit, online course that I helped develop through my work at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). The OSUCCC – James offers ISOC to encourage a greater commitment to cancer prevention globally and to reduce suffering from cancer through education.

The course could be especially useful to nursing and medical students, hospital staff, secondary-school teachers, social workers and community-health personnel and reporters and editors.

ISOC has five modules, each with seven or eight videos that are 5 to 20 minutes long. The videos feature more than 30 OSUCCC – James oncologists and researchers who explain key cancer concepts in basic, user-friendly terms. Downloadable content includes slides and readings, and supplemental information.


The module and video topics are listed below. Selected videos can be used to present cancer-education workshops, such as this one for staff at St Albert’s hospital:

To enroll for the course, visit

To see the course material without enrolling, visit To locate course materials:

  • On the left side, click on “Modules.”
  • Scroll down the list of modules and click one of interest, such as Prevention of Cancer.
  • At the top of the page, click “Lecture Materials,” then scroll down to see the videos and downloadable print material about cancer prevention.

I encourage you to take the full course. Registration is free. Please also send us your comments about the course, how useful you found the material, and how we might improve it 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
  • Why Going to the Moon is Easier Than Curing All Cancers

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
  • Cancer Prevention in Zimbabwe and Under-Resourced Countries

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