General Question

janetess1's avatar

Is everyone born with cancer cells?

Asked by janetess1 (4 points ) May 31st, 2009

I have been told yes and that we all have them

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7 Answers

essieness's avatar

Well, yes, sort of. Cancer as I understand it is what happens when your regular cells divide and grow abnormally and too fast.

Bobbydavid's avatar

some unusual things can trigger it too. A close friend of mine, god bless his soul had a routine tooth removal which caused cancer of the mouth. He died within a month. Sometimes there’s just no stopping it

Dr_C's avatar

The simple answer is no.

What we are all born with (and this is still under speculation and study at the moment) are what are called precursor genes that may or may not be involved in the development of cancer.

I refer specifically to the p53 gene which has been called on occasion the “cancer gene” who;s alteration may or may not be a conditioning factor in some forms of cancer.

@essieness is also correct. Cancerous cells are cells that have an altered life-cycle, will grow at an altered rate, will lose specific function (depending on the type of cell) and will not go through standard apoptosis.

nikipedia's avatar

Most people are not born with “cancer cells”, but any cell in your body is capable of becoming cancerous.

No one can say whether or not we are all born with genes that predispose us to develop cancer. There are a variety of genes that are contributing factors to cancer, but there is no single gene that guarantees you will get cancer.

I think what @Dr_C is referring to is not a gene but a transcription factor called p53 that is important in regulating your normal, healthy cell cycle. If something interrupts its activity, your cells are more likely to divide incorrectly and your risk of developing cancer increases. This can happen because the gene that codes for p53 (TP53) is damaged, or because something else, like a virus or another protein interacts with p53.

This is only one of thousands of ways cancer can happen. Your risk of cancer increases with age, so it’s safe to say that the chances of being born with cancer are much lower than your chances of developing it later in life.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes. Natural radioactivity for example affects the unborn baby. But the repair mechanism work great most of the time.

Aster's avatar

I thought everyone has cancer cells at all times but the immune system kills them when it’s operating efficiently. So, why don’t all blood tests show cancer?

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