Correlation, meet causation.
What is the valid counterpoint?
Humans are by animal standards very long lived and naturally quite resistant to developing cancer. We have many more anti-cancer biochemical and genetic systems (antioncogenes) that work much better than the same systems in mice.
1. Which mouse? An inbred laboratory possibly immunodeficient strain, a genetically engineered mouse to GET cancer at a high rate, or maybe a wild type free-range mouse?
2. Which cancer? Do you realize that it is almost impossible to get realistic models of prostate cancer or that mice simply live to short to get colorectal cancer - even when the relevant mutations are introduced?
Yes mouse cancer in not a great model for human cancer and we probably should not be using mice - about the only good thing they have going for them as a model is they are small and cheap.
Personally I would like to see us using pets (dogs and cats) much more as their cancers are a much better match to human cancers in both how they develop and how they progress. That we are not taking better advantage of this resource to develop new treatments is a tragedy.
Most importantly people for the last 20 years have tried to genetically integrate working p53 into cancer cells, and it has little effect on most types of cancer.
was the hypothesis that introducing a gene would start apoptosis?
Most likely having more genes means that there was a higher chance of receiving a viable beneficial mutation somewhere early in the animals evolutionary history, although it does little for the individual animal in the present day.
Speculation by a psychiatrist of course, and mostly in service to a metaphor about some totally other topic, but I wonder if there's something to the theory.
And because I can already see the down votes, let me ask you down-voters a question. With what thoughts do you imagine a CEO of a company like Phizer or GlaxoSmithKline wakes up? Is it how to cure more people, or is it how to make more money to keep shareholders happy ? And see how there is a conflict of interests, the sicker the people are the more they are willing to pay to get well and the more they need your products.
I'm sorry to say that but most cancer research you hear of in media don't want to cure cancer. Its just a business. Otherwise Apple could throw 40 billions of $ in it and come up wit ha cure.
At least in USA, it become such a fat cow to milk that foundations grew everywhere out of nowhere... go to your local store and say "no thank you" when cashier ask you "would you like to donate to fight cancer" and see their look like you are a murderer or something. Its next to "charity" best way for crooks to get rich tax-free while sucking on unaware populus.
The biggest thing you are trying to stay ahead of is the cancer spreading to your lymph nodes which is where the anti-bodies and white blood cells that power your immune system are made. Crippling these makes you susceptible to other diseases like every day bacterial infections and viruses which then could end up killing you. It's certainly not because they don't want to cure cancer.
Most cancers (80%) can be prevented though, and 70% of them are associated with HPV, a virus that is transmitted through sex. This is why sleeping around is unhealthy. You could be spreading it to every one you sleep with orally as well as genitally. (just another reason marrying your first love and being monogamous is healthy behavior). HPV has been associated with cervical cancer, breast cancer, throat cancer, prostate cancer, mouth cancer (noticing the pattern...).
And that's just one factor associated with cancer. Eating healthy (fruits an dveggies, lower red meat especially meat treated with chemicals) reduces other types of cancers associated with your digestive system like colon cancer (and is good for the heart and circulatory system which starts affecting you the closer you get to 50). Basically your arteries harden and your circulation gets poorer as you age and that results in other problems that creep up like high or low blood pressure that causes things like chronic headaches or numb feet, being overweight which can also lead to diabetes, etc.
If you take care of yourself when you are young you will have fewer problems as you age, but they are inevitable the older you get. But sometimes cancer is just a genetic mutation you inherited and you will get it anyway.
This simply proven:
Based on data from 2006 to 2010, about 33,200 HPV-associated cancers occur in the United States each year: about 20,600 among females, and about 12,600 among males. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer among women, and oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) are the most common among men.
Now let's quickly look at how many cancer cases we're looking at each year:
In 2016, an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 595,690 people will die from the disease.
So I don't know where they got their numbers from.
You might also be interested in: http://www.aicr.org/research/research_science_policy_report.... -- which has a pretty great rundown of preventable cancer incidences. Quite interesting, really.
"Figures like this show that cancer is not only extremely pervasive, but also becoming more and more common. But why will so many people develop the disease at some point in their lives?"
"The fact that tumours are constantly changing their genetic makeup is one of the reasons why cancers are so hard to "kill".
The article's faulty reasoning seems to imply that cancer is more and more common because of evolution. The scientist's work is examining the evolution of a cancer's cells since its initial genesis in the patient. Unless cancer is transmissible between individuals, there is no on-going evolution in cancer that is making it more efficient across the pathology of multiple patients. Thus, this doesn't add much to our knowledge of why cancer is more and more common.
You're right, the article did a bit of trickery here conflating general human evolution, with the main point of the article about cancer's isolated evolution within the host. The line that attempts to support this follows:
"Large and complicated animals like humans [aka lots of 'evolution'] are vulnerable to cancer precisely because they are large and complicated".
This claim is not supported by the article, and not the main point - but it's also just part of the intro and doesn't take away much either, chalk it up to journalistic creativity.
> "The fact that tumours are constantly changing their genetic makeup is one of the reasons why cancers are so hard to "kill"
That's what tfa is all about. In summary:
- cancers reproduce/evolve within a host optimizing against the body's defenses as well as the treatments we provide
- our treatments are effective at first, but since the cancer keeps evolving, they are all eventually rendered useless
- if the evolution is the problem, what if we try stopping that?
And that's what they're studying:
- find the specific meds that stop a particular cancer by giving them to the patient and seeing if it kills it
- as soon as u find them, stop giving them, so that the cancer doesn't go into hyper evolution against them
- let the cancer grow fat and lazy suffocating itself with a high-proportion of easily killable cells
- re-apply the medicine in full force to kill the whole thing
No, it doesn't. It just says that there is more of it, mostly because we live longer and smoke cigarettes and such.
1. population generally getting older
2. more people getting diagnosed?
Transmissible cancer is possible, but it's of almost negligible risk to humans [1, 2].
But we have started doing things like making stem-cell lines that have surface markers removed and are compatible with almost anyone..
> Canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT) is sexually transmitted cancer in dogs. It was experimentally transplanted between dogs in 1876 by M. A. Novinsky (1841–1914). A single malignant clone of CTVT cells has colonized dogs worldwide, representing the oldest known malignant cell line in continuous propagation.
I am not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. If you accept that cancer is simply the disease you get when you live long enough and don't die because of anything else before (a view even supported by the article), a higher percentage could also mean that all other things are in control now, and only cancer and heart attacks are left.
My gut feeling is we could fix 75% of current heart attacks with weight control + exercise + whatever, but only say 25% of cancer... i.e. that heart attacks are very much in the group of things we know how to fix, whereas cancer is still very much in the group of things we don't know how to fix.
But curious what the real numbers are...
This of course would have evolved long long ago, back before we were mammals. As only a handful of the most primitive animals are essentially immortal (jellyfish and the like) this would seem a very successful evolutionary trait.
Now yes cancer itself, as mutation caused, can't really be a trait of the host (I go as far as to consider cancer cells a separate parasitic species). And since many cancers are immortal, and the aging relates to a secession of cell division in some sense they are opposite extremes with normal development in the middle. But in being opposites they are related---end games / limitation for multicellularity.
one way to become immortal in some sense :)
"In the US there has been a 25% decline in death rate in the last two decades. 'More than half of that decline is driven by cancer prevention activities," says Brawley.
"This points to the fact that some of the cancers that would previously have killed people had been prevented. Almost a third of death from cancer in the US has been attributed to cigarette smoking, for example. This makes tobacco "the single most preventable cause of death in the world", according to Cancer Research UK."
Never starting a smoking habit, or quitting a smoking habit if you have already started, is a great way to prevent a lot cancer risk. Being moderate (not excessive) in alcohol use helps a lot too.
I keep hearing this, but do we have data that shows that cancer rates have not changed within age groups?
Average lifespan is skewed by much higher infant mortality rates of the past: an average lifespan of 45 doesn't mean everybody was dropping dead at 45; it means more people were dying during their infancy and youth.
In the US in 1900, a 20 year old could expect to live to ~62:
Today, a 20 year old can expect to make it to about 80.
So the gains aren't really limited to infant and child mortality. A substantial portion of the gain has certainly come from improvements there though.
the professor mentions as an aside (there is a transcript of the talk)
> And what is interesting, if you take out the childhood mortality, the Victorian person between 1850 and 1880 lived slightly longer, if he was a male, than you do today.
Females had the risk if child birth, an area where medicine did do a lot.
It shows that sanitation/hygiene and food seem to have done a lot for lower mortality outside the risk factors of being very young and/or giving birth.
And that was before antibiotics! Which is nice to know when we get another doom article about the end of antibiotics, because it seems that while sure individuals will suffer it by no means warrants predictions of doom for mankind.
Lung cancers are particular in that they feature an incredible amount of somatic mutation. If I remember its at least 10x as much as the next high-mutation rate cancer. Probably more even. Smoking tobacco provides a melange of mutagens: complex aromatic DNA adducts that result from combustion, heavy oils, and radiation from potassium heavy fertilizer. These would be enough to cause problems alone, but to make things as bad as possible the active ingredient is a critical signaling molecule in the cell cycle, which after copious application is likely to induce the survival of cells unresponsive to it. These cells are less likely to play nice with others.
Not the op but alcoholics are likelier to develop e.g. pancreatic cancer. I believe the direct mechanism, though, is not explained. "About 7 out of 10 cases of chronic pancreatitis are due to long term heavy drinking":
Woah, this isn't far from saying living in the US isn't far from a coin toss for a death sentence.
Also, we are only interested in curing cancer in humans (and perhaps at most livestock). Wild animals will still get cancer.
(Do plants and funghi etc get cancer?)
Study reveals human body has gone through four stages of evolution (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/bu-srh083115....)
Start here: https://nutritionfacts.org
I lived this on my own skin with my mum getting cancer.
This article has been completely lobbied by the pharmaceutical industry. No doubt.