Saturday, April 2, 2011

Guest Post! - Tim Elliot

Ladies and Gentlemens, I give to you today a guest blog post; Please meet Tim:

Timothy Elliot

The Immediate Danger Of Aggressive Cancers

Cancer can manifest in a multitude of ways, not only in terms of where it is located and what type of tissue it spreads to and attacks, but also in terms of the way that it can unfold as a disease. Certain cancers will proceed remarkably slowly, while others can aggressively spread through-out the body almost immediately. Although scientists are unsure exactly why certain cancers can react aggressively while others are far more passive, but a genetic mutation of a protein called MAD2 might be a key part of the explanation. Because when the protein MAD2 is missing entire chromosomes can become unstable scientists’ believe the strong correlation between its absence and the chromosomal instability found in aggressive cancer cells. The MAD2 protein may be a key component in understanding how to stop some of the deadliest, most aggressive cancers, including breast cancer, colon cancer, T- cell prolymphocytic leukemia, and mesothelioma.
Breast cancer, which is diagnosed in over 207,000 new patients every year, is estimated to be responsible for a staggering 39,840 deaths a year. Because breast cancer is such an aggressive cancer, only about one-fourth of the diagnoses each year are able to be operated on while the tumor is in its earlier stage, which is particularly shocking given the widespread awareness of breast cancer. Fortunately, although breast cancer is an extremely aggressive cancer, there are often still several treatments available for patients- usually including surgery.
Colon cancer is likewise one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in the United States. However because almost all colon cancers begin as benign, noncancerous polyps, colon cancer, if caught early enough, can be treated completely. Unfortunately, colon cancer spreads quickly through-out the body and in many cases can have no symptoms. The most common symptoms of colon cancer, however, are abdominal pain, intestinal obstruction, unexplained weight loss, and blood in the stool.
Unlike breast cancer and colon cancer, T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia is a very rare form of cancer that occurs in only about two percent of all lymphocytic leukemia patients. However, because T-PLL is both extremely aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy it is among the deadliest of all cancers. T-PLL’s aggressive metastasis through-out the body causes the average T-PLL lifespan to be about seven and a half months. However, new treatments with monoclonal antibodies and the research into MAD2 are expected to be far more effective in treating it.
Like T-PLL, mesothelioma is far rarer than breast cancer and colon cancer, however mesothelioma is unique among the extremely aggressive cancers in that it has a latency of period of 20-50 years before it begins to aggressively expand through-out the body. However because tumor often goes undetected until the cancer has metastasized, the mesothelioma life expectancy is only about a year after diagnosis.
Patients diagnosed with these four deadly , aggressive cancers figure to be among the first to benefit from the new research that is being done on the role of the MAD2 protein in cancer. As we understand more and more about cancer, hopefully we will continue to find better ways to fight it as well.

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