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Posted: 31 January 2014 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 316 ]
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I don’t understand your objection to MacGyver’s point. If a cell loses the ability to control and regulate its division, it becomes neoplastic. You’re correct that multiple things have to go wrong for this to happen, but it still happens in our bodies all the time. Of course, this doesn’t mean we get the clinical disease most people think of when they hear the word “cancer” because, as MacGyver said, our immune system eliminates most neoplastic cells before they reach that stage. But the point of mac’s comment was that if we impede the ability of the immune system to destroy abnormal cells, as we might when we take antioxidants, then we increase the risk of neoplastic cells become populations of cells large enough to cause disease.

Where’s the error here?

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Posted: 31 January 2014 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 317 ]
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George - 31 January 2014 07:11 AM
macgyver - 31 January 2014 07:02 AM

Well here’s the rub. You have cancer. We all do.

No, we don’t. I hear this all the time and it is simply not true. (And yes, I’ve heard this from a number of doctors as well.) A cell has to undergo through the process of undetected mutations enough times to start acting cancerous. Just because you may be missing a foot, it doesn’t mean you are missing a leg, or just because you suffer from cataracts, it doesn’t mean you are blind.

Your analogy is not appropriate here. A cancerous cell is one which no longer responds to the normal signals from other cells to keep cell division in check. Such a cell can then divide indefinitely and at a much greater rate than surrounding cells leading to the development of a tumor.

All of our cells contain some genetic defects. When a cell is defective enough that it is cancerous the immune system frequently discovers this and destroys the defective cell. Some cells acquire additional mutations that allow them to evade our immune system and go on to develop into tumors. You can quibble about that last step and perhaps we should only define these cells as cancerous if they have acquired the ability to defeat our defenses but by the strict definition they are cancer cells before that happens.

The second part of my argument is self evident. Most cancers are asymptomatic and undetectable for years and in some cases decades before a diagnosis can be made. A tumor that is a million cells in size took years to get to that size and yet is still far too small for even the best imaging studies (Mammogram, MRI, CT, PET CT) to detect.

The point of my last post was that it is thus impossible for anyone to ever say they are cancer free. Therefor no one can say they do not need to be concerned about a drug that may increase the growth rate of an existing cancer.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 318 ]
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Mriana - 31 January 2014 10:05 AM

My 24 year old son has the idea that we don’t need early detection screenings, because (he believes) that individuals discover something wrong with their bodies before any physical finds them and report these issues to their doctor and that’s when something like cancer is found, not by cancer screenings or alike.  I disagree with him and keep telling him that physicals are necessary for early detection of things like cancer.  I tried to point out to him that if we had the technology back when Gilda Radner was Dx with ovarian cancer, it might have been discovered earlier, before she had symptoms, and she might have lived longer, even survived, but he won’t believe me.  I think he lives by a dangerous philosophy about cancer and other like illnesses.  He has a belief, for example, that if one has lung cancer, their breath smells like a dead decaying body.  I don’t know rather to laugh or cry, concerning some of his ideas.

I am a big proponent of preventive medicine just as I am of preventive maintenance on your car. The outcome will usually be better if you change your oil regularly rather than waiting for the symptoms of a seized engine to tell you something is wrong.

That being said, not all things can be detected at an early stage and even those that can are not always amenable to treatments that can improve the outcome. That’s why prevention and screening has to be done based on good evidence. Gilda Radner being a prime example. We have a number of tests which can on a broad scale detect ovarian cancer earlier than symptoms alone yet study after study have shown that things like sonograms and CA125 levels do not improve survival and may actually diminish it.

While we are not able to screen and treat all illness in a way that improves the outcome there are many things we can screen for that make a huge difference. BP screening and treatment has dramatically reduced the rate of cardiovascular deaths over the past 50 years. Diabetes can not only be detected earlier with routine exams but its precursor (prediabetes) can be identified and if detected lifestyle changes can begin that may prevent the onset of diabetes. It has been estimated that close to 70% of all colon cancers ( 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women) could be prevented with regular colonoscopies every 5-10 years. Mammograms have been proven effective at reducing breast cancer deaths in women over 50, and PAP smears have dramatically reduced the death rate from cervical cancer. Vaccines have virtually eliminated the infectious diseases that used to kill most people.

we can’t detect and cure everything so you have to be selective about what sort of screening you do. Screening for things you can’t fix can do m ore harm than good, but if your doctor is smart about it there is a lot he/she can do to prevent and cure diseases that would otherwise lead to an early death if not detected until symptoms developed.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 319 ]
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macgyver - 31 January 2014 10:48 AM
George - 31 January 2014 07:11 AM
macgyver - 31 January 2014 07:02 AM

Well here’s the rub. You have cancer. We all do.

No, we don’t. I hear this all the time and it is simply not true. (And yes, I’ve heard this from a number of doctors as well.) A cell has to undergo through the process of undetected mutations enough times to start acting cancerous. Just because you may be missing a foot, it doesn’t mean you are missing a leg, or just because you suffer from cataracts, it doesn’t mean you are blind.

Your analogy is not appropriate here. A cancerous cell is one which no longer responds to the normal signals from other cells to keep cell division in check. Such a cell can then divide indefinitely and at a much greater rate than surrounding cells leading to the development of a tumor.

All of our cells contain some genetic defects. When a cell is defective enough that it is cancerous the immune system frequently discovers this and destroys the defective cell. Some cells acquire additional mutations that allow them to evade our immune system and go on to develop into tumors. You can quibble about that last step and perhaps we should only define these cells as cancerous if they have acquired the ability to defeat our defenses but by the strict definition they are cancer cells before that happens.

The second part of my argument is self evident. Most cancers are asymptomatic and undetectable for years and in some cases decades before a diagnosis can be made. A tumor that is a million cells in size took years to get to that size and yet is still far too small for even the best imaging studies (Mammogram, MRI, CT, PET CT) to detect.

The point of my last post was that it is thus impossible for anyone to ever say they are cancer free. Therefor no one can say they do not need to be concerned about a drug that may increase the growth rate of an existing cancer.

I just don’t think it’s correct to say that we all have cancer. A cell with a defective code that may become cancerous one day is not cancer. That’s all.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 320 ]
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macgyver - 31 January 2014 11:00 AM
Mriana - 31 January 2014 10:05 AM

My 24 year old son has the idea that we don’t need early detection screenings, because (he believes) that individuals discover something wrong with their bodies before any physical finds them and report these issues to their doctor and that’s when something like cancer is found, not by cancer screenings or alike.  I disagree with him and keep telling him that physicals are necessary for early detection of things like cancer.  I tried to point out to him that if we had the technology back when Gilda Radner was Dx with ovarian cancer, it might have been discovered earlier, before she had symptoms, and she might have lived longer, even survived, but he won’t believe me.  I think he lives by a dangerous philosophy about cancer and other like illnesses.  He has a belief, for example, that if one has lung cancer, their breath smells like a dead decaying body.  I don’t know rather to laugh or cry, concerning some of his ideas.

I am a big proponent of preventive medicine just as I am of preventive maintenance on your car. The outcome will usually be better if you change your oil regularly rather than waiting for the symptoms of a seized engine to tell you something is wrong.

That being said, not all things can be detected at an early stage and even those that can are not always amenable to treatments that can improve the outcome. That’s why prevention and screening has to be done based on good evidence. Gilda Radner being a prime example. We have a number of tests which can on a broad scale detect ovarian cancer earlier than symptoms alone yet study after study have shown that things like sonograms and CA125 levels do not improve survival and may actually diminish it.

While we are not able to screen and treat all illness in a way that improves the outcome there are many things we can screen for that make a huge difference. BP screening and treatment has dramatically reduced the rate of cardiovascular deaths over the past 50 years. Diabetes can not only be detected earlier with routine exams but its precursor (prediabetes) can be identified and if detected lifestyle changes can begin that may prevent the onset of diabetes. It has been estimated that close to 70% of all colon cancers ( 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women) could be prevented with regular colonoscopies every 5-10 years. Mammograms have been proven effective at reducing breast cancer deaths in women over 50, and PAP smears have dramatically reduced the death rate from cervical cancer. Vaccines have virtually eliminated the infectious diseases that used to kill most people.

we can’t detect and cure everything so you have to be selective about what sort of screening you do. Screening for things you can’t fix can do m ore harm than good, but if your doctor is smart about it there is a lot he/she can do to prevent and cure diseases that would otherwise lead to an early death if not detected until symptoms developed.

So I guess you’re saying that my son and I are both right and wrong, depending on the illness being screen for and under what circumstances?

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Posted: 31 January 2014 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 321 ]
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George - 31 January 2014 11:20 AM

I just don’t think it’s correct to say that we all have cancer. A cell with a defective code that may become cancerous one day is not cancer. That’s all.

But it is correct. It is only a fortuitous combination of your immune system being a capable match for the particular cancer cells in your body that prevents you from developing a clinically significant tumor. If your immune system were not there or was slightly different then things would be very different. In some cases those very same cells in another person would cause a malignant tumor. Patients who are immune deficient develop cancer at a much higher rate than the general population because of this. The cancer cells are always there. They are just kept in check by your immune system until they are not

You wouldn’t say that the 1918 influenza virus is not a deadly virus simply because it happened to be in the body of someone who’s immune system was able to defend against it.

Every cancer that eventually becomes deadly started out as one of these tumor cells but due to a weakened immune system or a genetic mutation that allowed it to circumvent that person’s unique immune system it developed into a potentially deadly tumor.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 322 ]
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Mriana - 31 January 2014 11:38 AM

So I guess you’re saying that my son and I are both right and wrong, depending on the illness being screen for and under what circumstances?

Exactly

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Posted: 31 January 2014 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 323 ]
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macgyver - 31 January 2014 12:49 PM

But it is correct. It is only a fortuitous combination of your immune system being a capable match for the particular cancer cells in your body that prevents you from developing a clinically significant tumor. If your immune system were not there or was slightly different then things would be very different. In some cases those very same cells in another person would cause a malignant tumor. Patients who are immune deficient develop cancer at a much higher rate than the general population because of this. The cancer cells are always there. They are just kept in check by your immune system until they are not.

I don’t think that’s right. Not every mutant cell will necessarily keep undergoing additional mutation to reach the status of being cancerous. The cancer cells are NOT always there. They are not cancer cells UNTIL they become cancer cells. Not everyone has cancer.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 324 ]
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George - 31 January 2014 12:57 PM

I don’t think that’s right. Not every mutant cell will necessarily keep undergoing additional mutation to reach the status of being cancerous. The cancer cells are NOT always there. They are not cancer cells UNTIL they become cancer cells. Not everyone has cancer.

I think you are missing the point George. A cancer cell is a cell that if left unchecked will divide and multiply endlessly and will not respond the the normal signals from surrounding cells. These cells DO exist in everybody. The difference between a cancer cell that results in a tumor and one that doesn’t can be an additional mutation or can simply be the difference between your immune system and mine or your immune system today and your immune system tomorrow. These cancer cells do not necessarily have to undergo any additional mutations to become problematic if your immune system undergoes a change or becomes distracted by something else.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 325 ]
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macgyver - 31 January 2014 01:12 PM

[Cancer] cells DO exist in everybody.

I don’t think they do. I’ll try to find some more information on this.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 326 ]
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Ok, found this:

Q: IS IT TRUE THAT WE ALL HAVE CANCER CELLS IN OUR BODIES RIGHT NOW?

A: “No. Everyone has cells that have mutant proteins from DNA damage, but to say that that’s cancer would be alarmist,” says Jennifer Loros, Ph.D, a professor of biochemistry and genetics at Dartmouth medical school.

See the rest HERE.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 327 ]
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George - 31 January 2014 01:23 PM

Ok, found this:

Q: IS IT TRUE THAT WE ALL HAVE CANCER CELLS IN OUR BODIES RIGHT NOW?

A: “No. Everyone has cells that have mutant proteins from DNA damage, but to say that that’s cancer would be alarmist,” says Jennifer Loros, Ph.D, a professor of biochemistry and genetics at Dartmouth medical school.

See the rest HERE.

She is not talking about the same thing. The fact is that every single cell in your body has mutations not just “some cells” and some of those mutations result in mutant proteins most of which are harmless. I never said that a cell is a cancer cell simply because it has mutations. I have already provided you with the definition of what a cancer cell is.  Of all the trillions of cells in your body on any given day there will likely be some that the right mutations to allow them to escape control over their growth and therefor be defined as cancer cells. we dont change the definition just because we are afraid people might be alarmed by the facts.

You can look at this as a probability problem. For a cell not to be cancerous it has to obey the rules. Everything has to work right. It has to respond to the controls that are there to prevent it from following its natural tendency to reproduce. Every time a cell divides it has to copy 3 billion base pairs with perfect fidelity. Some mistakes are going to be made. There are systems in place to proof read and correct but they are not perfect so mistakes will occur and some will persist. Some of those mistake are harmless, some are fatal to the cell, some will be silent unless they exist in the presence of other mutations. If enough errors occur in the control genes you have cancer. Entropy and the sheer numbers ( billions of base pairs and trillions of dividing cells) make it very probable that mutations are occurring frequently and those mutations are far more likely to be harmful than beneficial. It would almost be a miracle if rogue cells did not appear on a fairly regular basis.

There is nothing alarming about this its simply a statement of fact. The vast majority of time those cells are destroyed before they can cause any problems. We can argue semantics about whether that qualifies them as cancer cells if they can’t hide from our immune system but in a petri dish they would divide and behave like cancer cells. If it makes you feel better to not call them cancer cells then you are certainly free to define them as such for yourself. Just keep in mind that these are the cells that become tumors when the conditions are right and therefor we are all at risk and should all try our best to limit the conditions that promote the growth of these cells. That’s all I have been trying to say.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 328 ]
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George, try looking at it this way if it will make it more understandable what Macgyver is saying.  Older adults have a high rate of cancer and PART of the reason for that is, cells (for all of us) die off and new ones form.  So older adults still have new cells developing, but because they are of an advanced age, those cells don’t always develop right, even mutate more often than when we’re younger, and they often have more cells that don’t develop right than the younger population.  Those that don’t develop right and mutate from what they should be, either get attacked by healthy cells and destroyed or they go “rad”.  Those that go radical turn into cancer, such as leukaemia, prostate cancer, etc.  The same with lung cancer- new cells are constantly developing as others die off, but if cells continue to get damaged repeatedly, over and over again, it makes it harder for a healthy cell to grow properly and eventually one ends up with many abnormal cells that become cancerous.  The elderly are more prone to abnormal cell development in part because of their age and in part because they’ve lived long enough to have repeated damage from their environment.  Many also have lower immunity to illnesses too.  All is this part of why there is a higher rate of cancer in the aged.

That’s the part that McGyver is saying that doesn’t always work right and those are two very easy examples to explain what he’s saying.  With old age or smoking or both, the right ingredients are there for mutated cells to become cancerous.  However, one doesn’t have to be old or a smoker to have a cell that is potentially cancerous to develop.  Our cells die off every day and we get news ones, but one mutation could mean either the death of the cell, kidney problems, or cancer.  However, some organs develop new cells more slowly then others, such as our brains, and this is way people with TBI recover more slowly than someone who gets a broken arm, for example.  The cells in the area of the brain that is damage die off and new ones develop slowly, esp in adults.  That’s why for the longest time, we thought only children developed new brain cells, but in recent years, we’ve found adults do too, it’s just slower.

I look at cancer as mutated cells that developed in a way that is not conducive to human life and successfully thriving at the expense of the organism.  However, by looking at this way, embryonic cells could mutate from the norm in which development could cause not only deformatives, but also cancer, thereby causing a new born to be born with cancer.  However, we don’t often hear of such things, even with babies born to mothers who have cancer during gestation, but I guess theoretically it is possible.  However, looking at it from the elderly side of cell development, it makes sense.  So, I would assume there are a few problems in my own understanding of the subject that need ironing out, but I think that is the jest of what mcgyver is saying and at any given time, we all have cells that mutate and could potentially become cancerous, but many die off or are killed by our immune system, which is also a bunch of cells too.

[ Edited: 31 January 2014 05:14 PM by Mriana ]
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Posted: 31 January 2014 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 329 ]
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No, the fact that we all have mutant cells that can turn to cancer cells is what I am saying, not macgyver. What he is saying is that we all have cancer; or at least that’s what he initially said and then said a bunch of other things. The reason why older people are more likely to get cancer than young people is predominately due to the fact that with time it is simply more likely the damaged cells will undergo through a number of mutations, eventually making them so different from the rest of the cells that they will start growing their own “thing,” a tumour.

[ Edited: 31 January 2014 05:32 PM by George ]
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Posted: 31 January 2014 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 330 ]
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George - 31 January 2014 05:28 PM

No, the fact that we all have mutant cells that can turn to cancer cells is what I am saying, not macgyver. What he is saying is that we all have cancer; or at least that’s what he initially said and then said a bunch of other things. The reason why older people are more likely to get cancer than young people is predominately due to the fact that with time it is simply more likely the damaged cells will undergo through a number of mutations, eventually making them so different from the rest of the cells that they will start growing their own “thing,” a tumour.

Think that is what I was saying when I said due to age, exposure to various things in the environment etc.  However, I think macgyver is actually saying the same thing, but he’s not talking as a layman or you’re misunderstanding what he means by mutant cells.  Mutant cells can carry a code that is suppose to form a brain cell, but if part of that code is wrong, then it’s a mutant, and if that mutant continues to develop, it crashes the whole system- be it kidney failure or cancer depending on the bad code.  Like HTML, if the code is wrong, the web page, at the very least won’t work properly.  At worse, it could carry a virus that can crash your computer, whether it was intentional on the designer’s part or not.  It all depends on the coding as to whether or not the cell is cancer or not, so mcgyver is right and sometimes our immune cells kill that cell before it has a chance to grow into a tumor.

BTW, not all tumors are cancer.  Take Grave’s Disease as one example.

[ Edited: 31 January 2014 05:48 PM by Mriana ]
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