Medical Do you have higher chances of having cancer if you get injured more?

Just curious.
Based on studies I’ve read, I am assuming this because the cells have to divide to recover from wounds/injuries. Therefore, DNA has to be replicated and there’s a chance of a cancer-causing mutation to occur.


Would this be right?
 

fresh_42

Mentor
Insights Author
2018 Award
10,048
6,789
There is probably a slightly increased chance, but whether this is measurable, i.e. significant is another question. Where have you read this? "I've read" is a bad basis to start a discussion. However, in case of sunburns, the answer is definitely yes; for other injuries it's likely no.
 
However, in case of sunburns, the answer is definitely yes; for other injuries it's likely no.
I wonder what the difference is? Something to do with the UV damaging DNA? I've skinned my knees from sports a few dozen times. I always wondered.
 

Wrichik Basu

Gold Member
2018 Award
921
762
I wonder what the difference is? Something to do with the UV damaging DNA? I've skinned my knees from sports a few dozen times. I always wondered.
Yes, UV rays play the leading role. Read this:
Too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds can damage the genetic material (the DNA) in your skin cells. If enough DNA damage builds up over time, it can cause cells to start growing out of control, which can lead to skin cancer.
 

fresh_42

Mentor
Insights Author
2018 Award
10,048
6,789
I wonder what the difference is?
It's more a theoretical difference. Whenever cells multiply in large orders, chances are that there will be damaged ones among them and a few could be cancerous. Plus that carcinogens could enter the body via a wound.
But as said, probably completely irrelevant, i.e. statistically insignificant. But I didn't want to rule out that there are tissues which are more sensitive than the skin on someone's knees. The only example I could think of was UV rays and malignant melanoma.

Another reason for an answer as "theoretically yes" was, that "cancer" covers hundreds of different variations and it is almost impossible to answer all of them with a single yes or no. Even what people name as e.g. kidney cancer subsums various forms. And the other vague term was injury. I can at least imagine that a severe head injury could be the cause of a tumor later in life. Or injuries by dentists! They might indeed have the potential to cause cancer via the detour of jaw inflammations.

However, questions like this can rarely be answered shortly. And I was already happy, that I thought of UV rays and sunburns, which are an injury and certainly the most frequent form of an injury induced cancer.
 
@fresh_42 It was a CNN article which said that since cells can become cancerous at any time, 2/3 (that’s the number they used) of the cancers are due to bad luck (random mutations) and that they can happen when stem cells divide to repair damage.
 

fresh_42

Mentor
Insights Author
2018 Award
10,048
6,789
A CNN article is no scientific source. However, they often cite the paper where they have their information from. It's necessary to read this before one jumps to conclusions. "Bad luck" is one thing, caused by an injury a completely different one.
 

jim mcnamara

Mentor
3,438
1,635
Long term Helicobacter pylori infections of the stomach are a direct cause of one type of stomach cancer. They cause lesions (uclers) which repeatedly damage an area in the stomach lining, which forces the tissue in the lining to attempt "repairs". This response is primarily rapid cell division followed by cell differentiation. So this constitutes repeated damage, in a cycle, close to the OP's question.


Great fact sheet on the subject. Note that H. pylori infection reduces the risk of some other types
of cancer.
 

pinball1970

Gold Member
313
295
Just curious.
Based on studies I’ve read, I am assuming this because the cells have to divide to recover from wounds/injuries. Therefore, DNA has to be replicated and there’s a chance of a cancer-causing mutation to occur.

Would this be right?
This is not straight forward, "injury" in the sense of physical trauma (besides UV damage which has been mentioned) I would have thought not so much.

High contact sports do have a higher mortality and there was a thread on pf relating to it but I cannot find it. I think CVA/steroid use were bigger factors than cancer.

Chemical and infectious injury (smoking drinking asbestos HPV) yes and has been mentioned

Link below on Cell damage, repair, renew, inflammatory response, fatty change, necrosis - not all direct links to cancer but some cross over and the types of cell involved matter. High turnover of cells (Breast gut Uterus) epithelial cells

 
Last edited:

Ygggdrasil

Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2,853
1,896
@fresh_42 It was a CNN article which said that since cells can become cancerous at any time, 2/3 (that’s the number they used) of the cancers are due to bad luck (random mutations) and that they can happen when stem cells divide to repair damage.
A CNN article is no scientific source. However, they often cite the paper where they have their information from. It's necessary to read this before one jumps to conclusions. "Bad luck" is one thing, caused by an injury a completely different one.
This paper has been discussed previously in PF. See the following thread and my insight post for more discussion:
 
209
163
I think its all about the nature of the injury, an acute injury may increase cell turnover but its a relatively short term effect and there is more to the issue than just the rate of cell turnover. Most of the things we refer to as carcinogens are cell poisons, most having a direct effect on DNA, this causes a direct injury plus leaves a group of surviving cells with induced DNA damage. Radiation exposure and UV light, exposure to tars (smoking, eating smoked meats, soot exposure, asbestos ) but there is a huge long list and because some concentrate in particular areas or tissues they can cause very specific cancers. Then there are the injuries caused by certain infections, again virus infections directly effect DNA as in HPV and cervical cancers. It seems that chronic irritation of tissue, which amounts to continuous injury is much more problematic.
I suspect that younger people are more at risk of acute injuries and they have more effective DNA damage control but cancers are a result of a number of DNA mutations which escape the immune system. So generally its a matter of cell turnover over time and the effectiveness of the damage control systems, which is why age is the number one risk factor.
 

gleem

Science Advisor
1,259
678
Chronic irritation has been linked to some cancers like melanoma when a mole under the continual rubbing due to a belt or shirt collar causes inflammatory reaction causing the mole to become malignant. In fact inflammation is linked to about 20% of cancers. Although we think of inflammation as a reddening of the skin due to a burn or irritation it is a defensive and healing reaction of the body to an injury or infection. Normally in an injury this process ceases when the healing is finished. However due to a malfunction of the bodies defense mechanism or as a result of some non normal condition the inflammation process may continue for indefinite period. Inflammation can be exacerbated by diet also. Inflammation then becomes antagonistic to the body which can result in DNA damage. Inflammation has been linked the production of free radicals. Free radicals are energetic molecule that have an unpaired electron. Free radicals for example are the primary causes of the damage of DNA damage from ionizing radiation exposure. Radiation produces OH- radicals from the interaction with water. I think we are all aware of the complexity of our biochemical system and how a disruption of a normal process in one part can can have a deleterious effect elsewhere.
 

Want to reply to this thread?

"Do you have higher chances of having cancer if you get injured more?" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Hot Threads

Top