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Why is Heart Cancer an Extremely Rare Ailment?

Cancer can affect any part or organ of the body, such as bone, breast, lungs, pancreas, skin and brain. But why then, do we rarely hear about heart cancer. Is it that our heart is immune to this disease?

According to Dr Jacqueline Barrientos, there are tumors that take place in the heart, but they are not very common and so no one talks about it. These rarely occurring dangerous heart tumors are known as rhabdomyosarcomas. Tumors which are found in the soft tissue of the body is called sarcoma. But tumors found in the muscle tissue of the heart is called rhabdomyosarcomas. In a research, more than 12,000 autopsies were conducted from which only seven cases were identified to have any kind of primary tumor that causes heart cancer.

Dr. Timothy J. Moynihan concluded that most of the cancer tumors that are found in the heart are secondary tumors, which come from some other parts of the body. To understand what this means, it is necessary to review certain basics of cancer:

Cancer Basics:

  • There are innumerable number of cells in our body. One research estimates the number at 37.2 trillion. In a healthy person, cells unite and share their work with each other. So, they grow, divide and then die.
  • Cancer is an aberration of these basic cellular processes. When cancer begins, the cells grow abnormally, which contains damaged DNA. This results in huge chunks of abnormal cells, which are called cancer tumors. 
  • These abnormal cells may stay and grow in a specific place, but they are not life-threatening. But if they interfere with the functions of the nearby cells then they are called malignant. These cells may spread to other healthy organs of the body. This process is called metastasis. 

This means that the cancer develops in some other part of the body, but it can spread and pass into the heart.

According to Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, the secondary tumors that spread into the heart, usually come from the nearby organs such as lungs, esophagus, liver and stomach. In addition, leukemia cells are also found to form tumors in the heart. Interestingly, these different types of tumors are usually found on the right side of the heart from where the blood enters the heart.

So, now the question arises that “If secondary tumors can attack the heart, why it is so unusual for primary tumors to grow there?

Why our Heart is not affected by cancer tumors?

In the human heart, doctors believe that its cell division stops at a very early age. So, the most of the development takes place in these early years only. With no cell division, there is no requirement of replacing old cells with new ones. Because of this reason, cancer cells cannot attack the heart.

The toxins from your food and environment plays a very important role in the activation of genes which can contribute to the development of cancer cells. These factors not only determine which genes will be activated, but also how frequently they will be activated.

According to Gaynor, these toxins are found where there are a lot of fat cells. These dangerous toxins can modify our genes. Moreover, our body is also supported by micronutrients which activates the tumor suppressed genes. These factors together can result in the formation of cancer cells in various organs of our body.

This is why our Heart is exceptional:

Heart does not consist a lot of fatty tissues. Moreover, our heart is enclosed in a membrane which is known as the pericardium. This fluid filled sac can also be attacked by cancer cells. However, this membrane does its job well enough and guards our precious heart.

So, even though cancer can attack any part or organ of your body, your heart remains secured and immune because of its muscular nature and with the help of the pericardium.

References:

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