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Thread: Cancer is contagious

  1. #1 Cancer is contagious 
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    Vaccine hope for Tasmanian devil tumour disease : Nature News & Comment

    This shouldn't be too surprising that mutant DNA acts a lot like a ravenous virus, as viruses themselves merely contain RNA or DNA which are in themselves infectious, further substantiated by the above article.


    It makes you think, why cancer rates are rising, well to answer that question you could ask why flu rates are higher in denser communities. It also explains 'cancer clusters'.


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    Frank

    While the Tasmanian Devil cancer is definitely contageous, this does not apply to the vast majority of human cancers. The reason cancers are increasing is simple. It is because cancer is a disease primarily of age, and we have an ageing population. More older people means more cancers. Simple.


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    The reason Tasmainian Devil cancer is contagious has a lot to do with the Tasmainian devils and very little to do with the virus. Tasmainian Devils are geneticly very similar to eachother, on the order of similarity of identicle twins. Their immune system does not destroy the contagious cancer because it sees it as native tissue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Frank

    While the Tasmanian Devil cancer is definitely contageous, this does not apply to the vast majority of human cancers. The reason cancers are increasing is simple. It is because cancer is a disease primarily of age, and we have an ageing population. More older people means more cancers. Simple.
    Don't be too quick with that. There are viral infections capable of causing cancer in humans.
    Oncovirus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankBaker View Post
    It also explains 'cancer clusters'.
    Most cancer clusters and other disease clusters fit either chemical pollution models or are statistical anomalies that are the results of smaller sample sizes (see clustering correction).
    However clusters of cases should be investigated just because it could be caused by an environmental problem, a lifestyle problem or some other cause.

    Please do not jump from the idea that some cancers might be viral in origin and possibly communicable to the conclusion that all cancers are viral and highly contagious because the epidemiology is not quite so simple.
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    It is also highly dangerous to draw conclusions about 'cancer', when you adress all cancers as one disease and compare it to a very distinct case in a different species. Cancers are highly heterogeneous and there are very many reasons a certain cancer may occur, such as certain viral infections mentioned above but there are also various lifestyle, age, chance reasons for cancer to appear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post

    Don't be too quick with that. There are viral infections capable of causing cancer in humans.
    Oncovirus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    You might care to note that I said most cancers, not all. While such viruses exist, as a general rule (and admitting that cancers are many diseases) cancers are not usually contageous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post

    Don't be too quick with that. There are viral infections capable of causing cancer in humans.
    Oncovirus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    You might care to note that I said most cancers, not all. While such viruses exist, as a general rule (and admitting that cancers are many diseases) cancers are not usually contageous.
    Don't get me wrong, I just advised a bit of caution about such statements.
    The wikipedia article has this as the second paragrph, before you even get into the meat of the article.
    "Worldwide, the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer estimated that in 2002, 17.8% of human cancers were caused by infection, with 11.9% being caused by one of seven different viruses.[1] The importance of this is that these cancers might be easily prevented through vaccination (e.g., papillomavirus vaccines), diagnosed with simple blood tests, and treated with less-toxic antiviral compounds."

    I think 17.8%, as far as was known in 2002, is a noteworthy percentage. Certainly not the majority of cancer cases, but still the point that cancers can be contageous is something to consider.

    You might also want to note the wiki page on cancer causing bacteria.
    Cancer bacteria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If there are bacteria that cause cancer then I suspect the percentage of cancer cases caused by an infectious agent should have been higher than 17.8% as of 2002.

    The crazy part is that if cancers cuased by infectious agents can be recognized, and the infectious agent known, then it opens up more options for treatment. It might be possible to prevent some cancers with antiviral drug, immunization or a course of antibiotics.
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    Dan

    I used the term 'contageous'. This is a bit different from saying the cancer may originally have an infectious cause. Contageous implies that contact with a cancer victim may give you cancer, which is incorrect. The most common infection that may (or may not) lead to cancer, is sexual contact between a man carrying a virus, but otherwise healthy, and a healthy woman. The cancer is a by product of the infection. You do not catch it from a person with cancer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Dan

    I used the term 'contageous'. This is a bit different from saying the cancer may originally have an infectious cause. Contageous implies that contact with a cancer victim may give you cancer, which is incorrect. The most common infection that may (or may not) lead to cancer, is sexual contact between a man carrying a virus, but otherwise healthy, and a healthy woman. The cancer is a by product of the infection. You do not catch it from a person with cancer.
    I think you are mincing words a bit here to try to make some kind of argument.
    I have no idea why.
    I was only trying to share a bit of information.
    -----
    From an online dictionary:

    "Contagious literally“communicable by contact,” describes a very easily transmitted disease as influenza or the common cold. Infectious refers to a disease involving a microorganism that can be transmitted from one person toanother only by a specific kind of contact; venereal diseases are usually infectious."
    -----

    The real point is that some cancers are transmissable because the agent that causes them is being tranferred from host to host.. Or is that something you really want to argue against too?
    In 2002 the World Health Organization said 17.8% of cancers were caused by viruses. That is roughly 3 out of every 16 cases.
    Some of the viruses listed are easily transmitted, no sex needed.
    Some of the viruses cropping up in later research have never even been associated with cancer before. It is a newer field of research and many of the viruses are hard to incubate except in vivo.

    Why is this turning into some weird nit-picky argument over insignificant points when all that was intended by me was a simple sharing of some basic information?
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    The tasmainian devil cancer is truly contagious. It involves tumors in the face and mouth area and spreads when one devil bites another in the face. Facial biting seemingly is a major part of the devil's interaction pattern with each other. The cancer can take hold in another animal only because T Devils are so geneticly similar to each other. The recieving animal's immune system does not reject the foriegn tissue.

    In human's, if you tried to put a bit of Bob's tumor into Harry's body, Harry's body would kill it, not because it is cancer, but because it is Bob's tissue and not Harry's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Frank

    While the Tasmanian Devil cancer is definitely contageous, this does not apply to the vast majority of human cancers. The reason cancers are increasing is simple. It is because cancer is a disease primarily of age, and we have an ageing population. More older people means more cancers. Simple.
    cancers are no longer the disease of the old people. for the past few years, more and more 30 year olds are getting cancer, so the issue here is our food, not the age at all. The crappy foods filled with carcinogens, pesticides, artificial coloring and flavoring agents like red 40, etc, need i go on? it is the nutrition that is causing cancers, as well as environment, not the age by any means.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliya View Post
    cancers are no longer the disease of the old people. for the past few years, more and more 30 year olds are getting cancer, so the issue here is our food, not the age at all. The crappy foods filled with carcinogens, pesticides, artificial coloring and flavoring agents like red 40, etc, need i go on? it is the nutrition that is causing cancers, as well as environment, not the age by any means.
    I don't know and will not speculate on whether the increase in cancers among the young is from pollution of the food chain or environment.
    However it is true that cancer is not just a disease of the old or of people exposed to carcinogens at work. Even children can have cancer.
    (edit: and yes more people in their 30s and early 40s are developing cancer)

    It is also true that as people get older they are more likely to develop cancer.

    The real kicker though is that more people are dying of cancer now than are dying of heart disease, and I have not read anything in the news to tell me why that is.


    Cancers In Young People - National Cancer Institute
    Last edited by dan hunter; August 12th, 2014 at 11:20 PM. Reason: their there
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    Cancer diagnoses are actually on the (very slight) decline in the U.S., despite better methods of detection and increasing life expectancy. Additionally, people of similar age groups were just as likely to get cancer 100 years ago as they are today, and were more likely to die because of it.

    The Decline in U.S. Cancer Mortality in People Born since 1925

    This study demonstrates that the only reason cancer incidence is higher than it was 100 years ago is because people are living much longer, as was mentioned earlier.

    Report to the nation finds continuing declines in cancer death rates - National Cancer Institute
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    Isn't cancer simply the term for a mutated cell that stimulates its own growth?

    So I wouldn't say cancer is contagious as it's simply just the current state of cells.

    I think the disease causes these mutations which indirectly causes cancer.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think that's how it is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScienceNoob View Post
    Isn't cancer simply the term for a mutated cell that stimulates its own growth?

    So I wouldn't say cancer is contagious as it's simply just the current state of cells.

    I think the disease causes these mutations which indirectly causes cancer.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think that's how it is.
    I'm not sure if I would consider that a meaningful distinction. I could say that a virus doesn't actually kill you, it is the fact that so many cells are being hijacked is what kills you. But the two are essentially synonymous. A disease that directly causes cancer is for all meaningful intents and purposes synonymous with cancer. Maybe I'm wrong here, I'm no expert, maybe cancer really is just a secondary cause of these diseases? I'll wait for more information.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ37 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ScienceNoob View Post
    Isn't cancer simply the term for a mutated cell that stimulates its own growth?

    So I wouldn't say cancer is contagious as it's simply just the current state of cells.

    I think the disease causes these mutations which indirectly causes cancer.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think that's how it is.
    I'm not sure if I would consider that a meaningful distinction. I could say that a virus doesn't actually kill you, it is the fact that so many cells are being hijacked is what kills you. But the two are essentially synonymous. A disease that directly causes cancer is for all meaningful intents and purposes synonymous with cancer. Maybe I'm wrong here, I'm no expert, maybe cancer really is just a secondary cause of these diseases? I'll wait for more information.

    Yeah that's why I am not sure, if there was a physical transfer of the mutated cells through something such as direct affected tissue to unaffected tissue contact, perhaps the cells can thread and the other body doesn't think they are alien and remove them.


    The way I was thinking how this works is like a cold the disease spreads, but the sneezing isn't a cold, it's just something that was caused by the cold virus.


    It is likely one of those 2 options, but again could be something completely different as well, I will also wait for more information from a biologist
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    To mat

    Thank you for your comments. I was prepared to make the same point, but you made it very well.

    There are a few cancers among young people that have increased, but these have known causes, such as Karposi's sarcoma (associated with HIV), and lung cancers associated with smoking, which have increased in women in some places. Overall, though, there is no increase in cancers among the young. Nor, in the western world, is there any increase in pollution. The peak in air pollution, for example, in our cities, was reached over 100 years ago, and has been reversed by the various Clean Air Acts that governments have imposed and policed.

    Cancer survival, on the other hand, has increased dramatically.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScienceNoob View Post
    Isn't cancer simply the term for a mutated cell that stimulates its own growth?

    So I wouldn't say cancer is contagious as it's simply just the current state of cells.

    I think the disease causes these mutations which indirectly causes cancer.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think that's how it is.
    I think you have hit the nail on the head ScienceNoob. The disease itself is manifested at the cellullar level where normal cellular growth, cell death, cellular replacement and cellular division at a particular location in the body is interfered with 'causing runaway growth of a particular cell morphology' resulting in benign or malignant tumours. The 'healthy functioning body' which is a sensitively balanced array of dfferent cell morphologies that together mutually contribute to the overall health of the organism is thrown out of balance by an invasion of aberrant cells of a single morphological expression and function.

    This can be attributed to changes to a somatic or germ cell's built in array of limits designed to control it's growth by disruption to the DNA sequence itself via mutation or viral intrusion or via the blocking of a cells ability to phenotypically express it's gene sequence (eg. epigenetic factors and other infectious agents). It can also be attributed to a disruption in the bodies regulatory feedback mechanisms (the brain and the systems) that might suppress the production of certain cells through the blocking of cellular growth inhibitors and the suppression of the body's immune system. There are probably a number of other causal mechanisms I may have missed here.

    The bottom line is that a cancer is an expression of a breakdown in the body's ability to self-regulate it's healthy functioning status. With an ageing population it is no suprise that the prevalence of cancer increases as the probability of disruptions to healthy body functioning increase with age, but again the good old expression 'everything in moderation' also holds true in ensuring that the body's 'delicate balance' achieved through a long evolutionary history is not significantly disrupted through excessive intakes of a particular diet, beverage or toxic vapour that of course must have an impact on cellular chemistry. It may also require that we assess those other 'out of balance factors in life' that may impact on our state of mental health which may adversely influence the brain's ability to self-regulate the body......while the human body is a magnificently evolved beast we need to treat it with the full respect it deserves.
    Last edited by Implicate Order; August 12th, 2014 at 08:47 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Implicate Order View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ScienceNoob View Post
    Isn't cancer simply the term for a mutated cell that stimulates its own growth?

    So I wouldn't say cancer is contagious as it's simply just the current state of cells.

    I think the disease causes these mutations which indirectly causes cancer.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think that's how it is.
    I think you have hit the nail on the head ScienceNoob. The disease itself is manifested at the cellullar level where normal cellular growth, cell death, cellular replacement and cellular division at a particular location in the body is interfered 'causing runaway growth of a particular cell morphology' resulting in benign or malignant tumours. The 'healthy functioning body' which is a sensitively balanced array of dfferent cell morphologies that together mutually contribute to the overall health of the organism is thrown out of balance by an invasion of aberrant cells of a single morphological expression and function. This can be attributed to changes to a somatic or germ cell's built in array of limits designed to control it's growth by disruption to the DNA sequence itself via mutation or viral intrusion or via the blocking of a cells ability to phenotypically express it's gene sequence (eg. epigenetic factors and other infectious agents). It can also be attributed to a disruption in the bodies regulatory feedback mechanisms (the brain and the systems) that might suppress the production of certain cells through the blocking of cellular growth inhibitors and the suppression of the body's immune system. There are probably a number of other causal mechanisms I may have missed here. The bottom line is that a cancer is an expression of a breakdown in the body's ability to self-regulate it's healthy functioning status. With an ageing population it is no suprise that the prevalence of cancer increases as the probability of disruptions to healthy body functioning increase with age, but again the good old expression 'everything in moderation' also holds true in ensuring that the body's 'delicate balance' achieved through a long evolutionary history is not significantly disrupted through excessive intakes of a particular diet, beverage or toxic vapour that of course must have an impact on cellular chemistry. It may also require that we assess those other 'out of balance factors in life' that may impact on our state of mental health which may adversely influence the brain's ability to self-regulate the body......while the human body is a magnificently evolved beast we need to treat it with the full respect it deserves.

    Thank you for the confirmation and more in depth explanation, it is much appreciated.

    I remember reading somewhere that a few taz devils are suspected to have slight immunity.

    I haven't followed the article since, but I hope this unique species can make a turn around for survival
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    So it seems the cancer may just be an effect of how this disease works. So it is possible that a disease such as this one could become prevalent an any animal out of random chance? So this may be something to research as a similar disease or virus could appear for humans as well


    Perhaps we can also do more research into this sad situation and make the most of it by finding out how the disease mutates the DNA, and perhaps we can "recode" this disease to mutate cancerous cells into non reproducing cells thus stopping the cancer like they are starting to do with HIV.
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    Also it is these same "unlucky" mutations that are the reason humans even exist today.

    What if we could use this disease to mutate animals to possibly expedite the evolution process under a controlled environment?

    Perhaps we could simulate millions of years of evolution by not letting time take its chance, by choosing and selecting mutated outcomes that seem beneficial I think you could create your own completely unique species of animal starting from perhaps a mice lets say.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScienceNoob View Post
    Thank you for the confirmation and more in depth explanation, it is much appreciated.

    I remember reading somewhere that a few taz devils are suspected to have slight immunity.

    I haven't followed the article since, but I hope this unique species can make a turn around for survival
    Me too. While they are ornery critters they are copping an undeserved bashing at the moment. I used to think that they were one of the more robust critters due to their amazing stamina and strength but nature has a perverse way of changing the mind.
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    Do we know of all infected taz devils?

    How long do symptoms take to incubate?

    Can the disease spread before symptoms are visible?



    Can the disease spread from other animals/plants/objects

    Depending on the answers to those questions, I could say that we would just isolate all infected tazmanian devils and let them die off. Although this sounds cruel it would effectively remove the disease and save more Tasmanian devils from dying.

    The only risk is if we didn't get EVERY single one it is only a cure remedy not a prevention remedy all the Tasmanian devils are not at risk for infection.


    The safest way of course is to find a way to make them immune, but this is more difficult.
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    Also could a moderator remove the thumbs up on this thread title?

    OP is insane after reading his other posts
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