Sunday, January 15, 2012

Curing Cancer or the person????

I just read an article and one of the paragraphs which struck me was the following.   I do agree with the sentiment but I don't think the final line is actually attainable and it concerns me that many people do.   The first line tells the tale....when you understand that line better you will understand cancer better.

Canceris a strange cell.                                
You can go along for years in remission
and then one day it pops its head up again.
If you ever have it you will never be free of it.
Pray for the day there will be a permanent cure.

I don't know if I truly believe that there will ever be a 'cure' as cancer really is a hundred different diseases....but I still pray for that miracle in a different way.

Most lay people think when you speak of cancer that you are talking about one type of illness and that all it will take is a researcher to find the magic bullet and all will be well.  The real reason that this has been so illusive is that it would be impossible to cure cancer in one swell swoop.   Cancer is really the medical term used to describe a cell that has lost its natural nature to die at some point.   It is a cell that continues to grow and multiply to the detriment of everything else around it.   It is a deviation from the norm.   Then there is the type of cancer that exists.  This is a specific disease related to specific cells of an organ.    So Ovarian Cancer is the cells that have refused to die in the Ovary and they continue to grow and multiply and move off the ovary to other organs (metastasis).   So even once the organ is removed the cancer cells still can exist in the body and live and attach themselves to other organs (stages 1-4).   So one can have Ovarian Cancer cells (tumors) growing on the colon, the aorta, the liver etc.   When you understand this, you come to realize that each type of cancer must be dealt with differently.    What one type of drug may do to a prostate cell may not work on an ovarian cell.    So that is why the newest research is trying to develop therapies that do not just kill cells, but that only kill cells that are continuing to grow and develop capillaries.   Each cancer cell grow new capillaries in order to feed it self through blood flow.   No other time do we grow new capillaries after we are born.  So, if we can find or develop a drug that destroys the new capillaries then we can destroy the cancer cell.....these drugs are called antigenisis (sp?) drugs.   This may be the way of the future.  The bonus of these drugs is that the side effects will be virtual eliminated b/c they will only attack cancer cells ...not 'fast' growing cells which most drugs do today.

So, hopefully we will find new drugs to counter what has gone wrong with the cells and that will lead to being able to cure the person.    Whether or not a 'cure' for cancer will ever occur is questionable.    The reason I write all this is that when we understand what cancer is and how it develops, we begin to see  that the best way for us to move ahead is to work on these new type of drugs and maybe not focus so much on a cure.    We would probably be able to allocate funds more appropriately with this type of research..

This is all of course......MHO

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