• Question: Why do people have cancer?

    Asked by girl to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 2 Jul 2012. This question was also asked by whmegandnath.
    • Photo: Blanka Sengerova

      Blanka Sengerova answered on 2 Jul 2012:

      The simplest answer is that we have cancer when a cell in your body is damaged (or rather its DNA is) which leads to the cell dividing uncontrollably at the expense of other cells. A healthy cell has mechanisms to stop it from dividing when enough of its kind are present (for instance your lungs won’t keep growing indefinitely), but these mechanisms are lost in a cancer cell and it just keeps on dividing, leading to a formation of a lump.

      Does this answer your question?

    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 5 Jul 2012:

      I think Blanka’s pretty much covered it:

      Normally our cells grow and divide only at certain times and the rest of the time they ‘rest’.
      Cancer cells keep growing and dividing and growing and dividing. This is what makes the lump. Some cancer cells even lose the attachments that hold them in one place and go for a wander around the body and this is how the cancer can spread do different places.