On October 17 at 9pm ET, VisionTV will broadcast the world premiere of “Cancer Saved My Life,” an original 60-minute documentary that chronicles Canadian broadcast journalist Libby Znaimer’s experience with breast and pancreatic cancer, and explores how a genetic mutation that predisposed her to cancer ultimately helped her overcome the deadliest form of the disease.
Libby carries the BRCA-2 gene mutation. Approximately 1 in 40 individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent is a carrier for a BRCA mutation, leaving them at a higher risk of developing breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer. This is compared to mutation frequency of 1 in 500 in the general population.
“Cancer Saved My Life” tracks Libby from a devastating diagnosis of locally advanced pancreatic cancer to a complete recovery eight years later. It reveals how doctors from Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital came up with a novel treatment and then used her miraculous case as the basis of ongoing research to help others.
Cancer strikes families, not just individuals, particularly when there is a genetic mutation involved. Libby’s brothers, Moses and Sam, are also featured in the documentary, as are her nephew and niece, who grapple with the knowledge that their father Sam is a carrier of the mutation. The documentary also travels to Israel to meet other cancer survivors and researchers who are building on the knowledge gleaned by her Toronto physicians Dr. Steven Gallinger and Dr. Malcolm Moore (now working in BC).
Many Canadians know Libby Znaimer’s story well. In addition to being a veteran broadcaster, she is the author of “In Cancerland: Living Well is the Best Revenge,” VP News and Information at ZoomerMedia Limited, and columnist for Zoomer magazine in which she announced her devastating diagnosis and chronicled her treatments and journey back to health. “The Lump”, her groundbreaking, popular National Post series on her experience with breast cancer detailed her real-time navigation through the healthcare system and the difficult choices she faced. It raised awareness for the disease and sparked a national conversation on the subject.
“Cancer Saved My Life” will delve into some of the toughest circumstances life can bring, but it is a story of hope and the promise of medical breakthroughs.
“Cancer Saved My Life,” the hopeful story of Libby Znaimer’s triumph over breast and pancreatic cancer, premieres Monday, October 17 at 9pm ET/6pm PT.