ZocdocAnswersWhat causes cancer cells to grow?

Question

What causes cancer cells to grow?

I am a 33 year old male and I have cancer. What caused these cancer cells to grow and spread? I'm a pretty healthy guy. I eat right and exercise.

Answer

First of all I am sorry to hear that you have cancer. While I am more than willing to give you some general information about cancer, and risk factors for its formation, there is no way for me to be able answer questions that pertain specifically to you. Since your oncologist is privy to your medical history, and what type of cancer you have, they are the best suited to answer any specific questions that you have about your cancer. In general terms, cancer (malignant neoplasm), is a group of cells that has lost the ability to maintain normal growth patterns, which leads to growth and destruction of the surrounding tissues. There are two main classes of thought when it comes to the thinking about carcinogenesis (cancer formation). Both genetics (i.e. hereditary predisposition, or family history), and environmental factors contribute to cancer formation. These environmental factors (such as smoking, radiation exposure, environmental exposure, etc) can cause insults to the cell cycle such that either the cells develop the uncontrolled stimulus to multiply, or they have lost the normal ability to undergo apoptosis (cell death). Furthermore there are certain cell signals and factors that maintain the normal organization of cellular and tissue structure, however with enough mutation and degeneration, cancer cells can lose this ability which can allow them to invade other tissues, even blood vessels and lymphatics which can lead to the spread of cancer to distant sites in the body (this is known as metastasis). I hope that this gives you some general information. I would definitely recommend having this conversation with yor oncologist. I hope this helps. Best of luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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