Where Does Cancer Come From?

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People diagnosed with cancer naturally search for explanations for its origin and wonder how cancer might have been prevented.  The truth is that most cancers originate naturally within the human body from the moment of birth and continue throughout life.

Studies looking for cancer in certain organs after people die from any type of accident or illness have discovered breast cancer in 40% of women between 40-50 and prostate cancer in 65% of men between 60-65 years of age.

Those discoveries raise two important questions.  First, where do these cancers come from and second, why are more people not diagnosed or impacted by these cancers?

Where do They Come From?

A genetic mutation of a cell’s DNA is required for a healthy cell to take on the features that classify them as cancerous.  These mutations primarily arising from inaccurate copying of the genetic code or in other words, a biological “typo”.

Every day your body has to replace 50-70 billion cells and each cell needs to have its DNA copied.  A strand of DNA that contains our genetic code has 3 billion nucleic based pairs (think of these as individual letters in a document) that need to be copied.

No organism known to man can copy a 3 billion letter document, 50-70 billion times per day, every day, without making a mistake and these errors can result in a cell with cancerous behaviors.

Two thirds of human cancers are thought to arise from mistakes in the copying process.  But why don’t more people, or other animals, develop cancer?

Why Don’t More People Display Cancer?

Fortunately, evolution was also able to provide us with an immune system that prevents these random cancers from spreading.  This is why in spite of the fact that 40% of woman may have actual cancer within their breasts, only 11-12% will be diagnosed with it in later years and why only 15% of men get diagnosed with prostate cancer although 65% carry cancerous prostate cells.

The haunting question that remains is that as our cancer detection tools become even more sensitive, how many people are being over-diagnosed and treated for cancers that would have never become apparent if the patient had simply been left alone?

© 2018.  Nemechek Consultative Medicine, Inc.  All Rights Reserved

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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