This morning when I was running with one of my favorite pace partners she informed me that she just recently had surgery to remove a tumor from her breast. So I started to ask the usual questions…
1) Is there a family history of cancer
2) Did u ever smoke
3) Have you ever been exposed to radiation
4) Overexposure to sunlight
Every answer was no, then she simply said cancer is an epidemic. So my mind starting racing is this an epidemic? An epidemic occurs when new cases of a certain disease in a given population substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience. There was a time when a cancer diagnosis could be linked to the individuals lifestyle i.e smoking, excessive use of alcohol or genetic predisposition. But now healthy young individuals with no family history are developing cancer at alarming rates. But why?
Physicians and scientist know the mechanism of the disease, how it eludes cell cycle arrest and the mutated cell continues to divide developing into a tumor. But this is just one mechanism there are several more ways a cell becomes cancerous. To understand this epidemic it will take me several blogs, so I will make this a five part series. My cohort will be healthy individuals with no genetic predisposition developing colon, breast, lung, prostate and pancreatic cancer.
I would like to dedicated this series of blogs to my lab supervisor Billie, she was strict, intelligent and kind. She died of pancreatic cancer very quickly and I will never forget her struggle.