‘Biology of Cancer’ Course Invites Public to Explore the Disease
(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Aug. 3rd, 2009) ―
A diagnosis of cancer is usually followed by shock and a lot of questions and misconceptions. Hoping to help sort through this web of confusion, noted cancer researcher and Cal State Northridge biology professor Steven Oppenheimer is opening up his annual “Biology of Cancer” class to the public this fall.
Biology professor Steven Oppenheimer and a student study sea urchins as part of their cancer research.
The class is scheduled for Mondays, from 5 to 6:40 p.m. in Eucalyptus Hall room 2132, near the center of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge. The fall semester begins Aug. 24.
“Cancer is a disease that is feared by everyone,” said Oppenheimer, whose efforts to improve science education and mentor future scientists were recently recognized by the White House. Oppenheimer will receive a “Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring” from President Obama this fall.
“The purpose of the course is really twofold. One is to provide students with detailed knowledge of the biology of cancer, and the second is to help people, including those in the community, understand the disease so that they could approach it without fear,” he said. “The disease is very curable in its early stages and even sometimes in its later stages. There are a lot of folks out there who think they might have cancer and are afraid to go to their doctor because they think it’s a death sentence. What is a death sentence is if they don’t get good treatment early.”
The class attracts experts who lecture on cancer epidemiology, quackery, pathology, breast and skin cancers, radiation, and the diagnosis process, even the dangers of radon gas. Oppenheimer discusses types of cancer, their diagnosis, treatments, causes and prevention.
Taught by Oppenheimer for more than 30 years, “Biology of Cancer” has received the Public Education Award from the American Cancer Society. In addition to providing answers and insight about the disease, the course also counts for general education credit in the lifelong learning section of the general education package for both biology and non-biology majors.
Though first priority will be given to students, Oppenheimer is offering all remaining seats to interested community members. For more information, call Oppenheimer at (818) 677-3336.