Sunday, March 14, 2010
Is Cancer Contagious? GUEST BLOG
Today's blog is written by Alex.
Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, but you don't get cancer the same way that you get a disease like Chicken Pox. Inside your body, new cells are being created and destroyed constantly in order to maintain a balance. In cancer, this balance is thrown off because cells are being made in large quantities and never being killed. The cells that don't die constantly reproduce and create a large mass of cells called a tumor. The only reason this occurs is that the gene that controls the rate of the creation and deceasing of cells is damaged. This can just happen, be due to chemicals, radiation or because there was an error passed on from your parents. The damaged gene is called a mutation. Some cancers are linked with viruses, like the Human Papilloma Virus can cause cervical cancer. A type of lymphoma called Burkitt's lymphoma which is quite common in Africa is linked with the Ebstein Barr virus. You can catch the virus, but you can't catch cancer.
Cancer is hereditary. The damaged genes can be reproduced and sent down through generations to come, and though you can get cancer from various viruses, you can't catch cancer from people with cancer.