Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why are osteosarcomas more common in children and colon cancer more common in the elderly?"
I'm trying to understand why osteosarcomas don't show the same age dependency as colon cancer; which increases with age.
Thanks for your question. I recommend that you discuss this with your doctor. The short answer is that the cells that make these different kinds of cancers are dependent on different factors. Let's start with colon cancer. Colon cancer is one of the cancers that we know of that (usually) undergoes a transformation process that proceeds from normal cells to abnormal cells to cancer. Along the way, there are mutations in cells that give the cells immortality (the term doctors use to state that a cell is not destroyed by the usual systems in place to remove unhealthy cells) and cause them to escape the normal regulations that keep the body healthy. While there is wide variation, it is common for multiple mutations to be necessary before a cell actually becomes cancerous. Colon cancer is easy to understand because we can (sometimes) catch those cells at early stages when they form abnormal growths such as polyps. Diet and other lifestyle choices often affect the risk of adult cancers. With pediatric cancers, it is more common for the patient to have either inherited cells with problems in the DNA, or to have developed these problems very early on during their youth or even pregnancy. Please speak with your doctor about this.
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