Monday, October 18

The Big C

One of the best new shows this television season isn't on one of the big networks, and it's not a reality show either. It's "The Big C" on Showtime, and it's wonderfully insightful.

The show centers around Cathy, who was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. Rather than just sit back and take it, see decides to change her life as a result. She gets out of her rut and starts to live life the way that she wants. On her terms, with her decisions.

It's brilliant.

For those of us in marketing, particularly with brands in the healthcare space, there is a lot to be learned by watching this show. If you cut through the Hollywood plot line and the intense character development, you'll see an insight that I have long believed to be true: that people who are dealing with disease states (terminal or otherwise), still have all the other parts of their lives to deal with as well. Cancer is not the only issue for them.

Even if you are dealing with cancer or diabetes or HIV, it's not like everything else stops. You still have to work, take care of your family, eat and exercise everyday, etc. You still have to live your life, albeit altered significantly.

The point here is that even with a disease like cancer, other emotions and needs still exist. So if we want to understand patients and how to add value to their lives, we need to understand them as people, total people, and examine all aspects of what they are going through. Help them deal with their total life. So while it's entertaining to watch Cathy take on this new attitude, it's also a window into how people cope with major setbacks in life and move forward.

"The Big C". It's a big winner.

What's your experience? Jim.


  1. I love Laura Linney and have watched this from ground zero. I even watched the pilot episode on my iPad! Although a bit skewed at times the acting is wonderful and I can see it really representing post diagnosis behavior. The point that Jim makes is a BIG one because patients, whether they are in or out of the hospital, are HUMAN and still have a life outside of their diagnosis. My father being one who just got out of the hospital after a major heart operation. Some RNs, and doctors were brusk and that is their right. Perhaps that's how some, albeit great doctors, deal with so many patients. However, I witnessed something from one of the worlds' finest cardiologists that made my eyes well up. The doctor reached for my fathers hand and held it for the length of time it took him to explain what his life would be like after the procedure! I was stunned. True contact as if the doctor was trying to soften the blow of news that made all of our head spin. Now that was an experience!

    In conclusion, if it can live there, as Jim said we have to look at patients as people with lives outside of their diagnosis.

  2. When you find a doctor that connects with you .... keep 'em! They're a gem! Jim.

  3. The Big C is turning out to be an even better show than I expected. The last few episodes show the human side of revealing one's disease/condition to others and how the rest of the world sees them in return. Very interesting and telling.