Trent University to Host Sheperd Lecture: "The Secret History of the War on Cancer"

Free public lecture at Showplace on how the wrong war got started ... with the wrong weapons ... against the wrong enemies

Wednesday, November 17, 2010, Peterborough

Dr. Devra Davis will give the David Sheperd Family Lecture entitled "The Secret History of the War on Cancer," to discuss why cancer has advanced in our society, on Tuesday, November 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Showplace Peterborough, followed by a book-signing and reception.

"What causes cancer is a complicated matter of intense debate. Some of that debate has been fostered and led by folks with a strong interest in fanning uncertainties as a way to promote inactions …" reads an excerpt from Dr. Devra Davis's book, the Secret History of the War on Cancer, selected as one of the best books of the year by the Globe and Mail. In the book, Dr. Davis shares her personal account of how the war on cancer was run by leaders of industries that made and profited from cancer-causing products as well as the technologies and drugs for finding and treating the disease.

"We are delighted that Devra Davis will be speaking in Peterborough," said Dr. Stephen Bocking, professor and chair of the Environmental and Resource Science/Studies program at Trent. "Her books on air pollution, science, and the 'war' on cancer have been essential wake-up calls, urging more effective protection of communities from industrial and other health hazards. As a brilliant researcher and communicator on science and the environment, she epitomizes our tradition at Trent of rigorous environmental scholarship and inspired teaching."

A lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Davis was among the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. She has received awards from the American Cancer Society, the Euro-American Women's Council and the United Nations for her work in cancer research and awareness. Her book, The Secret History of the War on Cancer is forming the basis for national cancer policy revisions by the South African Cancer Society, and is being studied at major schools of public health, including Harvard, Emory, and Tulane University.

"My father passed away from cancer in 2003," said David Sheperd's daughter, Barb, "and it is timely and touching to have Dr. Devra Davis as the keynote speaker for the Trent University David Sheperd Family Lecture series. To bring knowledge, understanding and wisdom to the environmental causes of cancer is a critical issue of our time, and we are so pleased that this event will provide students, faculty and members of the Peterborough community with access to the exceptional Dr. Davis."

The previous and highly-successful David Sheperd Family Lecture featured environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., author and founder of the Waterkeeper Alliance, whose talk "Our Environmental Destiny," addressed the important role that our natural surroundings play in our work, our health, and our identity as people to a large crowd gathered at the Memorial Centre downtown Peterborough.

The David Sheperd Family Lecture is supported by the annual income available from the Trent University David Sheperd Family Lecture Endowment Fund. The Lecture Series provides students, faculty and members of the Peterborough community with exceptional access to leading scholars and people engaged in policy and practical work in the field of environmental science.

This is a free, ticketed event. Space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve your tickets, please visit:


For more information, please contact: Stephen Bocking, professor and chair, Environmental and Resource Science/Studies Program, Trent University
(705) 748-1011 x7883,