The Biology of Cancer BIOL 304 6380
The Biology of Cancer
Discussion Topic 1:
1). Explain in your own words how errors in mitosis could lead to the formation of cancerous cells as an organism (humans in particular for our focus) ages, and why errors in meiosis would not.
Mitosis is a delicate process that requires high fidelity to ensure the stability of the genome. Recent studies have revealed how errors in mitosis shape cancer genomes by driving both structural and numerical alterations in chromosomes contributing to the initiation of tumor formation and progression as an individual ages (Levine & Holland, 2018). However, errors during meiosis only alter the number of chromosomes, with no structural alteration, and only occur in reproductive organs leading to infertility and human birth defects rather than cancer.
2) Explain in your own words why cancer is often referred to as a disease of the cell cycle.
Cancer is normally referred to as a disease of the cell cycle because of the process of tumor formation from uncontrollable cell division and spread into neighboring tissues (Mercadante & Kasi, 2020). Cancer is usually caused by an alteration to the DNA.
3) Describe the relationship between hyperplasia and benign tumor growth.
Hyperplasia refers to an increase in the number of cells abnormally (Nandalur et al., 2021). Hyperplasia can result in a grossly enlarged organ which can lead to the formation of a benign tumor. Benign tumors are non-cancerous but considered an abnormal collection of cells.
Discussion Topic 2:
1). What are the 5 most common cancers based on 2020 data? What gender, race/ethnicity, and environmental/behavioral disparities exist according to the 2020 data regarding cancer and mortality rates?
According to the National Cancer Institute (2020), the most common cancers globally include breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, Colorectal cancer, and skin melanoma respectively. Among women, breast, lung, and colorectal cancer are the top three most common while men have reported high cases of prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer. Mortality rates due to cancer are however high among men than women. Regarding race and ethnicity, African American men have recorded the highest number of deaths from cancer, while Asian/Pacific Islander women have recorded the least. It is also reported that the rates of cancer are generally high in countries with high standards of living and educational levels. Additional disparities include financial burden and low screening rates.
2). As a society, how do you think we could decrease some of these disparities? How would you approach doing so? Would you begin at the local, state, national, or international level, so bottom-up approach or a top-down approach? Why? Give a brief proposal of where you would start and what you would do.
Evidence demonstrates that the best way of reducing cancer disparities is by promoting equitable healthcare (National Cancer Institute, 2020). I will start at the local level, by ensuring that healthcare facilities do not discriminate against cancer patients before I advocate for policy change at the national level. The policy change will help overcome racial, systemic social, and institutional inequalities.
Levine, M. S., & Holland, A. J. (2018). The impact of mitotic errors on cell proliferation and tumorigenesis. Genes & Development, 32(9-10), 620–638. https://doi.org/10.1101/gad.314351.118
Mercadante, A. A., & Kasi, A. (2020). Genetics, Cancer Cell Cycle Phases. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.
Nandalur, K. R., Colvin, R., Walker, D., Nandalur, S. R., Seifman, B., Gangwish, D., & Hafron, J. (2021). Benign prostate hyperplasia as a potentially protective factor against prostate cancer: Insights from a magnetic resonance imaging study of compositional characteristics. The Prostate, 81(14), 1097–1104.
National Cancer Institute. (2020, September 25). Cancer Statistics. National Cancer Institute; Cancer.gov.