Evolution May Be Reason Breast Cancer Is More Common Than Brain Cancer

Evolution May Be Reason Breast Cancer Is More Common Than Brain Cancer
Some organs, like the breasts or the colon, may be more vulnerable to cancer than others because of evolutionary forces, researchers at the Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Research on Cancer (CREEC), in France, argue in an opinion piece published in Trends in Cancer. They suggest that because tumors in large or paired organs are more easily tolerated than those in small or critical organs, these organs have developed fewer defenses against cancer cells. The article is called, "Evolutionary Ecology of Organs: A Missing Link in Cancer Development?" "The organs that are the most important to keeping you alive and capable of reproduction, such as the heart, brain, or uterus, may enjoy a better protection against cancer, all other things being equal," Frédéric Thomas, an evolutionary biologist at the center and a co-author, said in a press release. "We are not saying that this is the main factor to explain the different susceptibility of organs to cancer, but it is a factor that contributes with others." For example, they noted that "[m]alignant tumors are common in the colon and breast but rare in the heart and small bowel," and "[t]he uterus frequently develops benign fibroid tumors but uterine cancers are relatively rare." A number of studies have dwelled on the differences among organs in their susceptibility to cancer, but focus on internal risk factors such as how often stem cells divide in an organ — a factor that has been proposed to explain two-thirds of the variation
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