For an explanation, see the main splats page
The principles of cancer
- Cancer is the result of uncontrolled growth by the cells in a particular tissue, forming a tumour that takes away resources from the rest of the body.
- It is probably a mistake to look for a single cause for all cancers, because cancers themselves are different, and so probably have many different causes.
- Cancers all have one thing in common: some control that would normally stop cells from multiplying forever has broken down, so a tumour is able to grow.
- Chemicals which cause mutations often cause cancers as well, because these chemicals cause mutations in the protective genes that trigger apoptosis.
- Chemicals which cause mutations often cause cancers as well. Cancers are usually prevented until a protective gene breaks down when it is damaged or mutated.
- Cancers are often caused by a mutation in one of the protective genes that normally trigger a faulty cell to self-destruct for the benefit of the organism.
- Our immune system does not protect us against cancer, although the normal operations of apoptosis behave in many ways as a form of immune defence.
- Even though the immune system as such does not usually attack cancers, our immune systems can be artificially sensitized to attack some cancers.
- Some cancers spread by metastasis, a process which involves cancerous cells spreading through the body and establishing secondary cancers at new sites.
- In 1775 Sir Percival Potts noted that cancers of the nasal cavity and scrotum are common in chimney sweeps, that environmental factors can cause cancer.
- Some chemicals released in the environment such as exhaust gases and even apparently harmless material like sawdust, may cause cell damage and lead to cancers.
- People can inherit a greater probability of getting some cancers, including skin cancers (more common in Celts) and some of the colonic cancers.
- Many cancers are associated with aneuploidy, variations in the chromosome number, but it is uncertain whether this is a cause or an effect of cancer.
This file is http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/, first created on February 18, 2009. Last recorded revision (well I get lazy and forget sometimes!) was on February 18, 2009.
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