What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

When Is the Fear of Cancer Worse than Cancer Itself?

June 3, 2012, 1:30 PM

What's the Latest Development?

According to a recent Harris poll, cancer is the most feared disease in America. That fear is reflected in our health policy, which allocates twice as much funding to cancer research as it does to heart disease, even though heart disease kills more people annually. And fear itself can have dire health consequences, whether it means patients submit to unnecessary treatments (for the sake of ridding their body of non-life-threatening cancers), or live under the stress created by fear which can contribute to the spread of their cancer. For this reason, some doctors have recommended that slow-growing prostate cancer no longer be labeled as a cancer. 

What's the Big Idea?

David Ropeik, an instructor in the Environmental Management Program of the Harvard Extension School, says our national fear of cancer has been, in part, historically determined. During the 50s and 60s, cancer came to occupy a central position in the public's consciousness. That time period also coincided with the Cold War, and as the fear of a nuclear strike was due in part to the cancer-causing radiation of an atomic blast, the fear of cancer took on over-sized proportions. While Ropeik acknowledges that emotions influence our health decisions, he urges patients to consider the real risks of a given disease. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com



When Is the Fear of Cancer ...

Newsletter: Share: