Cancer has unique characteristics

Cancer is a genetic disease, even when is not hereditary, because it is always caused by genetic modifications (mutations ). 

But why do we say that all cancers cases are genetically unique? 

Malignant cells derive from healthy cells, so share their genetic information except for the abnormalities linked to cancer.  

Each individual, on the other hand, has a unique set of genetic instructions in his/her cells.

After all, no two individuals are the same except for identical twins.

This is the reason why we say that no two people have the same cancer, only the same type of cancer

Why is this important?

  • If cancer is different from person to person, this means that it will be very difficult to find a universal treatment, one that works on all patients.

There is also another problem - cancer cells are so similar to healthy cells from which they derive, that cancer treatments can also damage healthy organs and tissues. These non-targeted therapies cause side effects making the patient temporarily ill. 

However, targeted therapies are now being developed and starting to be used.

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