Refusing to Yield

To judge by its name, cancer may seem like a monolithic disease. But a recent study which sequenced the genomes of seven prostate cancers reveals just how staggeringly complex the disease can be. The sequencing revealed not only DNA mutations, but rampant rearrangements of the chromosomes themselves. As ERV explains, “we arent talking a mutation here, a tiny deletion there—we are talking huge chunks of DNA in the wrong place.” Once a cell becomes cancerous—which is no simple transition—it no longer functions as part of a bodily community. Instead, it founds its own community of cellular opportunists. Orac writes, “individual cancers are made up of multiple different clones of cancer cells under selective pressure to become ever more invasive and deadly.” And the evolutionary pressures of the human body can generate some grotesque cells indeed. Like all life, cancer is adaptive and diverse, and refuses to yield. But so, of course, do we.


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