Explore the science of cancer

Beaker and tube

According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer was projected to affect 1,685,210 people in the U.S. in 2016 and take 595,690 lives. It is a well-known disease that affects the lives of many. Students at Bellevue College who are interested in learning about the disease can sign up for one of BC’s new courses in winter 2016, Biology 145: Understanding Cancer, which is a course centered around the causes, symptoms, treatments and prevention of the disease.

Professor Jim Ellinger, the instructor of the new course says that there aren’t any prerequisites, but “some cell biology background would be useful.” Additionally, it is not a pre-requisite for a higher level course in the college’s Biology section. Biology 145 is a new addition to the existing five introductory biology courses.

When Ellinger was asked about what he looks forward to most about teaching the course, he spoke about the sensitivity of the subject. “The challenge of teaching a subject that will affect one-in-three of us in our lifetime; there are few words in our language that evoke more fear than the word cancer.” With the disease affecting one in three people in the U.S., it is expected to be the leading cause of death in a few years.

Professor Elllinger will also be teaching to sections of part two of the Human Anatomy and Physiology course this upcoming quarter along with the Biology 145. Last quarter he taught Biology 195: Special Topics in Biology, along with part one of the Human Anatomy and Physiology course.

One student who has signed up for the course is BC student Deeqa Mah. She says that she is looking forward to “attempting to understand the background of the disease and why it affects such a large percentage of us.” Majoring in biology, Mah mentioned that she hopes to learn as much as she can about diseases and all of the bodily processes that they affect before she continues on at the University of Washington next year.

Interested students are still able to sign up for the course, as Ellinger mentioned that enrollment is currently low. Biology 145 is on the biology page of courses, fifth down from the top of the list. Any students who are interested in learning about the disease are encouraged to enroll.