Cancer research is the most funded type of research. What is the scientific community doing?
Cancer is not a simple flu, and there are many many types of cancer. Broadly speaking, cancer happens when your DNA replicates itself and doesn’t do it correctly.
Our DNA and protein structures duplicate super super fast. Faster than most people would think of. We know that some parts of the human body change every couple of years. We get new skin cells, new hairs, new muscles, and livers often recover from alcohol abuse. Billions of cells are reproduced to recover damaged tissue. Billions of cells reproduce to help grow us into our adult years.
When duplication takes place, there is a very tiny chance that the replication will have a mistake.
When this happens, ACGTACGT ends up being ACGT"T"CGT.
In many cases, this is good news. A skin cell with a mistake in it will be produced, it will live, it will replicate, and then the skin cell will pass away. A human cell has 3.4 billion nucleotides, where 2% of them are critical for protein expression. This allows little benign mistakes to not have an effect.
However, some of those 2% are important for cell growth and cell death. When the directions for “grow every 5 days; pass away after 5 days” becomes “grow every 5 days; pass away every 15 days”… that’s “cancer”. But it can also be something like “grow every 2 days; die every 5 days”, and so the equation for replication becomes unbalanced.
With more cells growing than passing away, there is a higher and greater need for resources; cancer ends up stealing vital nutrients from other important organs.
It is not that science is holding anyone back, but rather science is still aiming to understand it. It is very important to understand how it works, how to manage it, and the best ways to make certain we don’t trigger additional imbalance.
When innovation is created without proper testing, it’s mostly based on assumptions. These can hurt rather than help. People can even die.
Today, cancer research is dealing with the billions of permutations that might occur. Some cancers are “grow every 2 seconds; die never”. Some are “grow every 5 days; die never ever”. Some are “grow 16 times every 1 second; die every 5 days”. Every one needs a different approach, therapy, or technique of management.
Today, science has actually currently given us a few techniques deal with cancer: Cut it out, Burn it with radiation, Freeze it to death, Target it with chemicals, Ask the immune system to assist, Replace it with somebody else’s.
Also, science is working on more methods, some of them innovative: Determine it earlier, Cut it out more safely, Burn just it with radiation, Much better targeted chemicals, Hack and pirate the body immune system to do our bidding, Even grow replacements on lab rats.
This is a tough one. Cancer might not be something one can cure.
It’s not like the flu or a common chest infection. Paracetamol won’t do anything, antibiotics won’t do anything.
Cancer happens when your DNA is copied and mistakes appear.
When the RNA nuclease copies your DNA over to a new cell, a section like AATACGT is copied like ATTACGT. That little switch between C and G is an error in the genetic code and is enough to create some mutations that then become cancer. All of a sudden one cell would partition into 2. Two cells partition into four. Four cells would part into 8 cells. And the quantity of the cancerous cells would increase exponentially in a short amount of time.
These cells would form tumors in and around the body, blocking blood circulation and consuming valuable nutrients that other cells require to live. So in a way, the healthy cells are being pushed out by the cancerous cells.
Cancer is a disease of the body. It’s important to note you can’t “catch” cancer from another human. Some of the existing ways we have for dealing with cancer are: excising the tumor, using chemotherapy to kill the cancerous cells, or using heat or cold for the same reasons.
If the cancer is found early, then the cancer could likely be stopped. Otherwise it might be too late, so our only options is caring and being there for loved ones.
Cancer is not just one simple disease, nor is it the result of one incident. It is the price we pay for being multicellular lifeforms. So instead of curing cancer, we’d be better off preventing it. We all get cancerous cells, but some of us fight them better than others. Stress plays a big part in this.