Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Cancer in general is good for you?

  1. Dec 14, 2008 #1
    I don't know much biology. But is it possible that Cancer in general is good for you?

    My reasoning is that Cancer is actually produced by our body to repair cells, but sometimes our body lose control of the Cancer and it becomes harmful.

    Example, smoking causes damage to lunge tissues. Then our body sends Cancer cells to our lungs to repair the lunge tissues but over a large amount of Cancer, our body might lose control of it then the small amount of Cancer turns harmful. (is there a name for good Cancer?)

    I know this sounds crazy, can you give me some reasons why this is flawed.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2008 #2
    Re: Cancer

    Hi Bright Wang,

    Cell division is very important to our bodies and this is how many kinds of old or damaged cells are repaired. This is good. Cancer refers to out-of-control cell division, when the normal regulation of cell division is disrupted and cells start inappropriately dividing. This is bad.

    Cancer is not actually produced by our bodies to repair cells. Cell division is the way that cells are replaced, which is a good thing when the cell division is properly regulated.

    From the way that you are using the term "cancer", I think that the term for "good cancer" you are looking for is cell division. But really, that is not cancer. Instead of cell division being a kind of cancer (not true), cancer is a kind of cell division (true).
  4. Dec 16, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Cancer

    True enough.

    "Cancer" is a term to describe a mutation that can occur in pretty well any type of tissue of an organism. It may be that some people/animals have more of this mutation than others but it is possible that everyone is carrying it in their genetic make up. It is probable that everyone develops a cancer at some point in their life and their immune system deals with it without the knowledge of the person. However, some people's immune system will not be able to stop the unregulated growth because of weak immunity.

    One theory is that the mutation that causes unregulated cell division will surface after several repeated incidence of tissue death. To illustrate this imagine your finger getting scraped. The skin grows back where the scrape was. Then it gets scraped again. Then the skin grows back again. Then it gets scraped, same place, again. Each time the tissue grows back, replacing the damaged tissue, there is a chance that one of the tissue cells replacing the old cells will have the genetic mutation that causes unregulated cell division... or "mal-plasia" (bad growth). Its theorized that this process can hold true for any tissue in the body. So if you have something damaging and killing off the tissues of your liver, then new tissue grows back, then you kill off that tissue in your liver again... and a new layer of tissue grows back, with this repetition you have increased the possibility of developing a cell in that re-growth that has the genetic mutation for mal-plasia.
  5. Dec 16, 2008 #4
    Re: Cancer

    Is it possible that there's a type of cell (like how there's stem cells) that its job is to help repair tissues, in addition to the normal cell division. Theses cells have the properties of bring more nutrients for the damaged part and attract blood vessels. Yes, I really shouldn't use the word Cancer to describe this.
  6. Dec 16, 2008 #5
  7. Dec 16, 2008 #6
    Re: Cancer

    Damaged tissues are repaired by cells dividing and filling in the damaged area. This is how tissues are repaired. Unless you are asking about an inflammatory response?

    Stem cells are just cells withought a job yet....the unemployed cells. :wink:
  8. Dec 16, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Cancer

    Its interesting to note that a cancerous cell can mimic the function of a stem cell.

    There's been many tumours at an advanced stage taken from a patient that have begun to differentiate in to teeth, hair and other parts of the body... all in the same tumour.

    The difference is that a stem cell will differentiate in a constructive manner where the mutated cell will divide and differentiate in an erratic way.
  9. Dec 16, 2008 #8
    Re: Cancer

    Because that I heard there's a lot of Cancer cells in muscle cells. But the muscle is able to some how use it to its own advantage. So muscle cells acutually attract Cancer.
  10. Dec 16, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Cancer

    Perhaps you could provide us a link to the study that examines what you heard about.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Cancer in general is good for you?
  1. Cancer and the sexes (Replies: 4)

  2. Plant cancer (Replies: 2)