Common Cancer Characteristics – Really ?
There are more than 100 types of cancer and the list keeps growing. So the big question is how different are these cancers ? To answer that question we should first look at how the cancer is classified. Based on the initial location (Primary) where the cancer started the cancer is classified accordingly. So if the cancer started in lungs (Primary Tumor) and then spread (Metastasis) to other parts of the body say bones (Secondary Tumor) it is still classified as “Lung Cancer”. Now that we got this cleared let’s look at what are some of the common traits or characteristics of all cancer types. This will help us understand Cancer as a single disease than look at it in 100 different ways.
- All cancer cells are derived or mutated from original cells. Breast cancer is derived from normal breast tissue and retains some its features, like estrogen receptors.
- Cancer cells continue to grow (replicate) while normal cells do not.
- Cancer cells are immortal.
- All Cancers need new blood vessels to grow.
- Cancer cells move (Metastasis)while normal cells don’t move. This one feature is the reason for most deaths.
- Cancer cells can’t repair themselves like normal cells
So now that we know the commonality between different cancer types we can start to focus on how each of the above characteristics are obtained by these cells in the first place. That’s for another blog.