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ummmm | 10:45 Fri 24th Jan 2020 | Body & Soul
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Why can some cancers be treated and others not?

My dad died of liver cancer and was only given pain management.

My uncle was diagnosed with stage 4 oral cancer last year, had intensive treatment and is now in remission.

My aunt had breast cancer years ago, it's come back and has spread to her lungs, liver and spine. No treatment, just to try and control it. She's 54. Doesn't smoke, rarely drinks, works out daily.


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Even when you get cancer, there seems to be little logic in the way things work out in the long run. My uncle was given a few weeks or, at the very most, a few months to live when his cancer was declared to be incurable. He died 25 years later, of an unrelated condition!
16:56 Fri 24th Jan 2020
All cancers can be treated. The individual's response to that treatment varies considerable for a wide variety of factors (general health, immune system, location and, as you say. the stage it's at). Some cancers are more aggressive than others.

The term cancer cover's a wide variety of gene mutations and their effects. It's a *** of a disease but slowly, it is being conquered.
It's hugely complicated but as I understand it depends on location, type and spread.

If certain cancers present and they are self contained then chances of total removal are more likely to succeed.

Some cancers have started to spread before they are first diagnosed and appear initially to be responding only to flare up elsewhere.

Same happened to me Husband.
It depends on the type of cancer and how far it’s spread.
My mum’s bowel cancer was treated, but by then it had spread to her liver and lungs. They cut out the liver one, but the lung ones were speckled all over and couldn’t be removed. By the time it got to her brain they were lesions, not tumours that could potentially be cut out.
My aunt had treatment (chemo)when her breast cancer returned and spread to her lungs but it didn't work. She was 66. I feel she wished she'd taken the option of shorter survival but better quality of life.
When I had Hodkin's lymphoma they said that if caught early it was very treatable. However mine wasn't, it was everywhere, and although they took a chance with treatment some doctors thought I didn't stand a hope in hell of survival. I thank 'the gods' for those who went ahead. Some people give up on treatment because it's gruelling which is so sad if there's a chance it'll work.
However I still don't think that all cancers will be cured in the future. I hope I'm wrong but probably won't be around long enough to know.
The future is a looooong time, robina. I'm sure we'll discover what triggers cancers to develop (I believe at the moment it's thought to be completely random) and stop it at source via genetic engineering.
I was taught that the mutations that cause cancer are a natural part of the function of the body and part of the same function that makes mutation and therefore evolution. Apparently there has been research to show that the majority of people over IIRC 80 who die of something that is not cancer have an undiagnosed cancer somewhere in their bodies. I will go and see if I can find some links....
my o/h died of colon cancer and i honestly believe it was his lifestyle that caught up with him, ate too much, red meat especially, did smoke once upon a time, and did like a drink.
my mum had bowel cancer and was given the news of remission some time after the op, she hardly drank, stopped smoking years before but eventually succumbed to lung cancer. It beats me who gets it and why but 1 in 3 or less will get cancer at some stage in their life.
One out of four cancer deaths is due to lung cancer and lung cancer kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined.
LB, how are you getting along??
Question Author
Robinia...I hope you're feeling well x
Question Author's so sad. My nan had a mastectomy, my grandad had bowel cancer, dad died of liver cancer, my mum had cervical cancer, my uncle with oral cancer and now my beautiful aunty. The other cancers in the family I would put down to lifestyle. Not my mums family though. They are a healthy bunch....or so we thought.

I think I need to get checked
There's neither rhyme nor reason to cancer, ummmm.
Question Author
Seems not.
I'm pretty sure there's a rhyme and a reason, Naomi. We just don't know enough yet to be able to pinpoint them.
Each cancer type seems sufficiently different to the others that it may need a different method of treatment. Some are more successfully treated as a result, than others. Hopefully someday soon we'll have the fix for them all, for all the different folk.
It's so random, zacs.
I know but the turning of the stars seemed random at one time.
We can hope.
You can always try prayer, N. ;-)
>>> lung cancer kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined

Not true. In 2017 35,148 people died of lung cancer in the UK. The aggregate figure for the three other types of cancer mentioned was 40,058.

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