Sunday, April 21, 2013

Evolution of Cancer

This week reading allows the readers to take a visual scientific journey to learn about an evolutionary way to view cancer. We’ve learned about accumulation of cells and their mutations during our lifetime (Somatic evolution), reasons why individual develop cancer, ways to achieve longevity via chemotherapy, as well as a host of other far-reaching material about evolution and cancer. And as scientist, “attempt to understand the reason why the system of the body are limited in their capacities to protect us from disease”; humans are still developing cancer despite the idea that our body has the capacity to protect us.  But the way in which we view cancer is being exemplified in the article entitled, “Evolutionary Foundation for Cancer Biology”, and we learned about six evolutionary explanations, and why organisms are vulnerable in developing cancer.  This article also explains how cancer is a rarity.

Even after reading this article, it is hard to believe that cancer is rare, because I know so many people who has cancer, and six family members that was diagnosed with cancer (could be a genetically based). It was interesting to read about chemo resisting cells and treating cancer with a lower dose of chemotherapy. When my Aunt Susan had cancer (she unfortunately passes away in 2005) she received radiation (Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA), and Chemotherapy. She was receiving the therapy at the highest does available, and reading this article I realized that the high does not necessarily mean you will be cured faster. I have had the pleasure to meet so many wonderful individuals who happen to have cancer, or who had cancer that is and was dong/going through chemotherapy. And most of the individual die due to the fast replication of the cancer cell, and metastasis.

Overall, this week readings demonstrate that cancer is a perplex condition and can be caused by multiple factors. You can develop cancer from genetic factors, hormone imbalances, too much energy intake, less energy output, tobacco availability, HPV, cell mutation, inflammation, change in neighboring support cell, genetic modification, infection, and overall can’t be prevented. Even though we can't prevent cancer, we treat the disease. 


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  2. * Respondent*

    I strongly agree that cancer is a highly complex disease which we only know so much about, but I will have to disagree with the idea that we can't do anything to prevent it. Yes, there are a wide variety of factors going into the development of cancer, and yes, some of them are out of our control, but we can certainly do a lot. I recently watched a documentary called Forks over Knives, which goes into findings regarding the effects of diet and nutrition on a multitude of health issues, including a number of different types of cancer. According to this documentary, the proteins found in animal meat have a significant effect on the triggering of cancer growth. They performed a study on rats in which they alternated giving animal protein and plant protein diets every few weeks, and found that they could essentially turn the cancer growth on and off by increasing the amount of animal proteins in the diet. The study also went on to suggest that while genetics may result in an increased risk of cancer, it rarely causes cancer alone. As you mentioned, cancer is complex; no single factor will cause it to develop. What is important is understanding the ways in which we can work to reduce our risks as much as possible, so that we won't need to worry about treating it.