Cancer Mutations: Visible or Invisible?

In summary, cancer mutations can be either phenotypically or genotypically silent, causing changes in the protein or the cells' ability to stop dividing. While all cancer mutations eventually become visible, it may take years for them to do so. As for cancer screening, there are various tests available, but it is best to consult a doctor or specialist for concerns about specific mutations. Overall, screening for each individual mutation would not be practical.
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And what type would that mutation be?

Would it be correct to say that cancer mutations are not always visible, and one could run tests to see if the person has cancer?
 
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  • #2


I assume you mean phenotypically? If so, it would be a silent point mutation. In this, a single nucleotide is replaced by another but, the sequence will still code for the same amino acid, and as such the protein will not change.

Genotypically, it could be one of several types of mutations. It could be a missense point mutation, or a nonsense point mutation. In addition, it could be a deletion or insertion. Any of these can cause the cells to develop into oncogenes, in which the cells ability to know when to stop dividing ceases; which is in itself, cancer.

All cancer mutations are visible at some point, though it can take many years for it to become visible, so I would assume that not all cancer mutations are visible initially but, will become visible eventually.

As for cancer screening, there are many tests out there to test for many different types of cancer. If this is something concerning you, you'd best see your doctor or a specialist.
 
  • #3


Mutations are a constant and would very very rarely be expected to establish a significant cancerous state. Screening for each mutation event would not be useful.
 

1. What are cancer mutations?

Cancer mutations are changes in the DNA sequence of a cell that can lead to uncontrolled cell growth and division. These mutations can occur spontaneously or be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to UV radiation or chemicals.

2. Are all cancer mutations visible?

No, not all cancer mutations are visible. Some mutations occur in the non-coding regions of DNA and do not result in any observable physical changes. Other mutations may result in changes to a cell's appearance, such as an abnormal shape or size, but these changes may not be visible to the naked eye.

3. How do scientists detect cancer mutations?

Scientists use a variety of techniques to detect cancer mutations, including DNA sequencing, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). These techniques allow them to identify specific mutations in a sample of DNA or cells.

4. Can cancer mutations be inherited?

Some cancer mutations can be inherited, but the majority of cancer mutations are acquired during a person's lifetime. Inherited mutations are present in all cells of the body and can increase a person's risk of developing certain types of cancer. Acquired mutations, on the other hand, occur in specific cells and are not passed down to offspring.

5. How do cancer mutations contribute to the development of cancer?

Cancer mutations can disrupt the normal functioning of cells, leading to uncontrolled growth and division. They can also affect important cellular processes, such as DNA repair and cell death, which can further contribute to the development of cancer. Additionally, some mutations may result in the production of abnormal proteins that can promote tumor growth and spread.

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