Cancer as a Result of Uncontrolled Mitosis

Cancer as a Result of Uncontrolled Mitosis

  • Cancer is a disease that is caused by cells dividing unchecked due to uncontrolled mitosis.

  • Mitosis is the normal, regulated process where a cell duplicates itself to produce two healthy daughter cells. In cancer, this regulation is lost. Cells continue to divide and proliferate, forming a mass of cells known as a tumour.

  • Each cell contains the genetic code for its function and properties. If a damage or mutation occurs in the genes controlling cell division, the cell may start to divide uncontrollably.

  • In a healthy body, the immune system usually detects and destroys these abnormal cells. However, sometimes these cells avoid the immune system and continue to multiply, leading to cancer.

  • Chemicals, radiation, and certain viruses can induce the mutations that lead to cancer. These are known as carcinogens.

  • There are several stages in cancer development. First, a genetic change in the cell causes it to divide uncontrollably. This is known as initiation.

  • The second stage is promotion, in which these rogue cells start to form a tumour.

  • In the final stage, progression, the cancer cells gain the ability to spread to other parts of the body in a process known as metastasis.

  • Depending on the type and location, cancer tumours can disrupt the function of normal tissues and organs, which leads to the variety of cancer symptoms.

  • The goal of cancer treatment is to eliminate these rogue cells or control their growth. This can be achieved through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other methods.

  • Advances in understanding cell division have led to effective cancer therapies. For example, some drugs can target and interfere with specific stages of mitosis, preventing cancer cells from dividing and growing.

  • An understanding of stem cells has also contributed to cancer research. Because cancer stem cells have the ability to divide and create an entire tumour, therapies that target these cells could potentially be more effective.