Cité des sciences dares to explore the “monster”

Posted on Monday Sep 5, 2022 at 10:22 AM

The combination is important: cancers are on display at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris, which brilliantly and meticulously explores all aspects of this complex disease that remains shrouded in taboo.

The challenge was daunting: “Showing disease in a science museum, putting our noses in a dark part of our humanity we don’t want to see,” said Maud Joy, co-curator of the exhibition in the poster from September 6, 2022, to August 8, 2023, in partnership with the National Cancer Institute (INCa). ).

But cancer, a major national issue, “affects all of us, from near or far”, says the public institution: Today, nearly four million people live or have experienced cancer in France, where the total over 30 years was a total of new cases It is increasing (but deaths are decreasing).

“+Cancer+ is the first major exhibition dedicated to this disease, with the ambition to explore its different sides to look this monster in the face, and break taboos, without raising anxiety or diluting the subject,” explains Lawrence Kunzel, Associate Curator.

On an area of ​​600 square metres, crabs (since there are no two identical types of crabs) are treated from a scientific, medical, social and even political angle.

An unexpected installation greets the visitor at the entrance: a large crab (“crabs” means “crab” in Latin) informs us that it is a biological phenomenon that appeared 500 million years ago with the advent of the first multicellular organisms. In short, it is rooted in the living.

Then the route invites you to wander from room to room in an intimate scenography, according to realistic and educational audiovisual installations. Nothing “fun”, the establishment does not want to “play” with the disease. The exhibition is also recommended only from the age of 14.

– “They were doing” –

Lying under the dome, you can learn about carcinogenesis, the genetic process involved in the formation of malignant tumors that find their origin in DNA mutation.

Understand the difference between a scanner, MRI, and PET scan. Discover research on future therapies, such as those on fibroblasts, cells that potentially improve response to immunotherapy. Or work on the social and geographic disparities of cancer, a “political disease” to which some populations are exposed more than others, as cases of asbestos and chlordecone have demonstrated.

The show makes a useful point about prevention “without the public feeling guilty,” according to Maud Joy.

With testimonials from patients, caregivers and caregivers, many of which are touching and above all giving hope. “Not because you have metastatic cancer, colon recurrence with liver metastasis is curable,” says a man with a colorectal tumor, facing the camera.

“Le cancer ne veut pas dire mort tout de suite, beaucoup s’en sortent et il faut le dire”, a réagi Alexandra Mariez, 36 ans, atteinte d’un cancer du sein triple négatif, invitée à la visite presse de l’ exposure. The creator of the Instagram account “Allons-y Prevention” and an ambassador for the Genetic Cancer Society, she believes that talking about cancers in the plural is necessary because it “means taking into account all the people involved”.

Melanie Hannoush, 43, who also went through the ordeal, welcomes the scale of the project. Says the founder of “Skin, a Post-Cancer Account”.

Because “to broach the topic outside of social networks is a severe taboo among young people,” laments this interior designer, who today produces images of women in turbans in hospitals to “change the appearance” of the disease.

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