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Whoa!  Lay Off the Vitamins!
Posted: 31 January 2014 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 331 ]
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Sorry, Mriana, but you are a bit confused about this whole thing. Mutant cells don’t “continue to develop,” to turn cancerous but, as I already said about a zillion times, keep mutating until they turn malignant. The reason why they, as you said,“crash the whole system” is because they are very prolific bastards that will not stop multiplying. And we actually know how many mutations it takes to turn a cell into a cancerous one: the estimate is somewhere between three to twelve mutations—in humans. The reason why skin and colon cancer are so prevalent also supports what I have been saying all along: those cells divide more often and chances of the necessarily number of mutations to turn them malignent are therefore more likely. Maybe macgyver (and Brennen) should look this up.

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Posted: 31 January 2014 07:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 332 ]
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George - 31 January 2014 06:22 PM

Sorry, Mriana, but you are a bit confused about this whole thing. Mutant cells don’t “continue to develop,” to turn cancerous but, as I already said about a zillion times, keep mutating until they turn malignant. The reason why they, as you said,“crash the whole system” is because they are very prolific bastards that will not stop multiplying. And we actually know how many mutations it takes to turn a cell into a cancerous one: the estimate is somewhere between three to twelve mutations—in humans. The reason why skin and colon cancer are so prevalent also supports what I have been saying all along: those cells divide more often and chances of the necessarily number of mutations to turn them malignent are therefore more likely. Maybe macgyver (and Brennen) should look this up.

Um… You’re telling doctors (at least Brennen is one), when you’re not a doctor, to look this up when they’ve studied it?  No insult intended, but I’ve studied some about cells and cell divisions in college too, even researched afterwards and think mcgyver has it right, but my word usage was a bit off.  Keep in mind when a mutated cell divides, that division also takes the mutation with it and if that mutation is coded for cancer then you’re carrying cancer in your body, even though it doesn’t become full blown cancer.  That vaccine for a particular STD… can’t think of the name of it now, but it helps the body fight off a cancer that is caused by a virus.  From what I read, apparently, at least one cancer, is caused by a virus.  Viruses are also made up of cells, with our blood cells fight against.  The vaccine helps the cells to fight that virus which causes cancer.  HPV, I believe it is.  Knowing this much information helps me understand what mcgyver is saying, but I’m not sure what you’re missing.

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Posted: 01 February 2014 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 333 ]
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George - 31 January 2014 06:22 PM

Sorry, Mriana, but you are a bit confused about this whole thing. Mutant cells don’t “continue to develop,” to turn cancerous but, as I already said about a zillion times, keep mutating until they turn malignant. The reason why they, as you said,“crash the whole system” is because they are very prolific bastards that will not stop multiplying. And we actually know how many mutations it takes to turn a cell into a cancerous one: the estimate is somewhere between three to twelve mutations—in humans. The reason why skin and colon cancer are so prevalent also supports what I have been saying all along: those cells divide more often and chances of the necessarily number of mutations to turn them malignent are therefore more likely. Maybe macgyver (and Brennen) should look this up.

While you have some of this correct you have made a few mistakes here. Your statement about the number of mutations it takes for a cell to become cancerous is estimated to be a few to a dozen. Where you go wrong is in your assumption that it takes cell division for mutations to occur and your implication that we basically start out mutation free and must acquire all of these mutations as our cells reproduce during our lifetime.

We are all born with mutations already in place. Some of us have more than others but on average we all have some. So while it may take an average of 6 or 8 mutations for a cell to become cancerous, your may have come in to this world with several of those mutations in place already. In fact some individuals are born with a single mutation that makes them much more likely to get cancer like the BRCA genes, Conditions like MEN I and MEN II, and the gene that causes Familial Polyposis among many others. In these cases only 1 or two additional mutations may be required. Still other individuals are born with all the mutations necessary and have cancerous tumors at the time of birth.

Additionally it is not necessary for a cell to divide in order for it to accumulate additional mutations. While rapidly dividing cells are more prone to mutation even slowly dividing cells can develop mutations. Some mutations are a result of incorrect DNA replication but other types of mutation can occur due to exposure to chemical agents or ionizing radiation that can alter non-replicating DNA. Some mutations actually occur during the proof reading process when the “corrections” go wrong and actually cause the sort of DNA errors they are trying to correct.

And Mriana I am a physician. I practice Internal Medicine. You can check with Darron if you’re not sure. He’s a LinkedIn buddy of mine and I’m sure he will vouch for me wink

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Posted: 01 February 2014 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 334 ]
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macgyver - 01 February 2014 04:28 PM

And Mriana I am a physician. I practice Internal Medicine. You can check with Darron if you’re not sure. He’s a LinkedIn buddy of mine and I’m sure he will vouch for me wink

I’ll take your word for it.  So, I guess I’m not too far off assuming that it is possible for babies to born with cancer, despite my lay understanding of it all, and questioning that I was going down the wrong path when I realized that babies could be born with cancer with what I understood of it, was actually the point where I was starting to go down the wrong path.  You don’t hear very often that babies are born with cancer though, that’s why I was thinking that maybe I misunderstood more than I think.  Maybe I don’t misunderstand more than think, I just need to learn more to clear up some things.

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Posted: 02 February 2014 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 335 ]
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macgyver - 01 February 2014 04:28 PM
George - 31 January 2014 06:22 PM

Sorry, Mriana, but you are a bit confused about this whole thing. Mutant cells don’t “continue to develop,” to turn cancerous but, as I already said about a zillion times, keep mutating until they turn malignant. The reason why they, as you said,“crash the whole system” is because they are very prolific bastards that will not stop multiplying. And we actually know how many mutations it takes to turn a cell into a cancerous one: the estimate is somewhere between three to twelve mutations—in humans. The reason why skin and colon cancer are so prevalent also supports what I have been saying all along: those cells divide more often and chances of the necessarily number of mutations to turn them malignent are therefore more likely. Maybe macgyver (and Brennen) should look this up.

While you have some of this correct you have made a few mistakes here. Your statement about the number of mutations it takes for a cell to become cancerous is estimated to be a few to a dozen. Where you go wrong is in your assumption that it takes cell division for mutations to occur and your implication that we basically start out mutation free and must acquire all of these mutations as our cells reproduce during our lifetime.

We are all born with mutations already in place. Some of us have more than others but on average we all have some. So while it may take an average of 6 or 8 mutations for a cell to become cancerous, your may have come in to this world with several of those mutations in place already. In fact some individuals are born with a single mutation that makes them much more likely to get cancer like the BRCA genes, Conditions like MEN I and MEN II, and the gene that causes Familial Polyposis among many others. In these cases only 1 or two additional mutations may be required. Still other individuals are born with all the mutations necessary and have cancerous tumors at the time of birth.

Additionally it is not necessary for a cell to divide in order for it to accumulate additional mutations. While rapidly dividing cells are more prone to mutation even slowly dividing cells can develop mutations. Some mutations are a result of incorrect DNA replication but other types of mutation can occur due to exposure to chemical agents or ionizing radiation that can alter non-replicating DNA. Some mutations actually occur during the proof reading process when the “corrections” go wrong and actually cause the sort of DNA errors they are trying to correct.

And Mriana I am a physician. I practice Internal Medicine. You can check with Darron if you’re not sure. He’s a LinkedIn buddy of mine and I’m sure he will vouch for me wink

I am pretty sure I am quite aware of everything you said here and never implied we are we born mutation free. All I am trying to say, and this is the last time I am saying it, we don’t all have cancer.

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Posted: 02 February 2014 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 336 ]
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George - 02 February 2014 07:48 AM

I am pretty sure I am quite aware of everything you said here and never implied we are we born mutation free. All I am trying to say, and this is the last time I am saying it, we don’t all have cancer.

I have to agree that I can not prove you wrong. The argument is one of biology and mathematics. Practically speaking everyone does have cells that are truly cancerous but as we can not examine every cell in every individual ( or even in a single individual) there is certainly the possibility that among the 7.1 billion people in the world at any given moment there may be some who are free of any cells which are neoplastic but this is irrelevant, nor is it the argument you are making.

Your argument is one of biology and how we define cancer and what I have been saying is that your definition of cancer is neither accurate nor the accepted scientific definition.

I also need to reiterate the argument i was originally trying to make which has gotten lost here and that is that no one can ever say they are cancer free because most if not all of us have cancer cells on board but also because most tumors exist for years to decades before they become detectable. Therefor our actions should always reflect that fact and we should therefor avoid anything that promote the growth of existing cancer cells.

[ Edited: 02 February 2014 08:57 AM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 02 February 2014 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 337 ]
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I guess I’m still not sure exacty what the difference of opinion between macgyver and George is here. I suspect it’s semantics more than anything else. Let’s see if we can break down “We all have cancer all the time” into narrower statements and see if we can find the difference of opinion. If George and macgyver will each respond with agreement, disagreement, or clarification to the following statemets, maybe that will help.

1. A “cancer cell” is a cell with sufficient mutations in relevant genes to undergo uncontrolled division. (Technically, these are called “neoplastic cells,” and can refer to the cells of both benign neoplasms, which show uncontrolled local growth but not tissue invasion or metastsis, and malignant neoplasms, which show both uncontrolled growth and invasion/metastasis. The term “cancer cell” is limited to malignant neoplastic cells per NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms- “Neoplasia-Abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth. 

neoplasm-An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called tumor.”) 


2. “Cancer” is the disease caused by the activity of “cancer cells.”

(This is based on the NCI Dictionary of Cancer terms, which defines “Cancer” as “A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.”)


3. At any given time, there is a high liklihood that any individual will have neoplastic cells in their body capable of forming either benign or malignant tumors and, if malignant, can potentially lead to the disease state called “cancer.”


4. Most of the time, individuals who have neoplastic cells in their body do not develop tumors or cancer because natural defense mechanisms destroy neopastic cells before they are able to replicate sufficiently to form tumors or invade tissue/metastasize.


5. Changes in immune function, due to drugs, supplements, environmental exposures, disease states, age, and other factors can lead to the proliferation of neoplastic cells into tumors or cancer which would not have occured without these changes in immune function even though these cells were present in the body.


If we follow these definitions fairly strictly, it probably isn’t accurate that “We all have cancer all the time” but rather “We all have neoplastic cells with the potential to develop into tumors or cancer all the time.” However, the basic point is atill correct that cancer often develops not simply from the appearance of neoplastic cells but from the malfunction of the immune mechanisms which normally kill neoplastic cells before they can form cancers. Thus, the basic point that taking supplements which can interfere with these immune mechanisms (such as antioxidants) can theoretically raise the risk of cancer (and this has proven to be clinically true in some cases; e.g. Vit E and lung cancer in smokers, Vit E and prostate cancer).

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Posted: 03 February 2014 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 338 ]
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I don’t think I need to clarify that for a cell to start uncontrollably multiplying to cause cancer it first needs to acquire sufficient mutations. I do agree that it is ultimately up to proofreading system to detect the mistakes and the immune system to deal with it. Although we are all born with potentially dangerous mutations, it is not correct to say that we all have cancer. A bad mutation can be responsible for, say, having crooked teeth, which is obviously not cancer. OTOH, children can inherit cells with already sufficient mutations from their mother and develop cancer at a very young age. All this, I believe, supports what I have been saying all along: we don’t all have cancer. I do agree it sounds logical to assume some supplements could potentially mess up the immune system and as a result indirectly cause cancer.

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Posted: 03 February 2014 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 339 ]
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Thanks George. SO, do you agree with statement 3 above? I think that is what macgyver really emans by “we all have cancer all the time.”

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Posted: 04 February 2014 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 340 ]
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I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Brennan and I have said this before although you laid out the biological concepts more clearly and in greater detail. This really is basically a argument of semantics and how each of us is defining cancer. While both you and I have explained the biological and medical definition of cancer we haven’t really heard from George. Maybe if he could tell us how he is defining it we could see where we differ.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 07:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 341 ]
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You haven’t really heard from me?  grin I think I have said everything I needed to. And what do I consider cancer? Not sure. I guess somewhere between carcinoma in situ and malignant neoplasm.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 342 ]
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George - 04 February 2014 07:57 AM

You haven’t really heard from me?  grin I think I have said everything I needed to. And what do I consider cancer? Not sure. I guess somewhere between carcinoma in situ and malignant neoplasm.

That is not a definition George.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 343 ]
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It would be helpful if you could define what you mean by those terms. That’s where we are having our disagreement

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Posted: 04 February 2014 04:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 344 ]
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You haven’t really heard from me?  grin I think I have said everything I needed to.

I think what he means is that you haven’t responded to my attempt to break down the disagreement into smaller, more narrowly defined pieces to try and iron out what the real disagreement is. You have said repeated “We don’t all have cancer,” but again it isn’t entirely clear where exactly the hangup is between your understanding and macgyver’s.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 345 ]
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Mriana - 01 February 2014 04:46 PM

  You don’t hear very often that babies are born with cancer though, that’s why I was thinking that maybe I misunderstood more than I think. 

Yes, it does happen. I have cared with perhaps a half dozen cases in my career. One fairly recently. It is always very tragic.

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