Posted on March 26, 2024 by UTSA History

Dr. Kirsten Gardner appeared in a powerful, moving, and comprehensive look at the development of cancer screening for women and the key roles women played as medical activists in the PBS series The American Experience: Cancer Detectives.
Dr. Kirsten Gardner

Dr. Kirsten Gardner

Passport Icon The Cancer Detectives

The trailblazers who landed the first blow against cancer. From the Collection: The Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Experience

Film Description

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The story of how the life-saving cervical cancer test became an ordinary part of women’s lives is as unusual and remarkable as the coalition of people who ultimately made it possible: a Greek immigrant, Dr. George Papanicolaou; his intrepid wife, Mary; Japanese-born artist Hashime Murayama; Dr. Helen Dickens, an African American OBGYN in Philadelphia; and an entirely new class of female scientists known as cyto-screeners. But the test was just the beginning. Once the test proved effective, the campaign to make pap smears available to millions of women required nothing short of a total national mobilization. The Cancer Detectives tells the untold story of the first-ever war on cancer and the people who fought tirelessly to save women from what was once the number one cancer killer of women.

— UTSA History