Life, Entropy, Evolution => Cancer wins every time

An article from the New York Times

Why Cancer always wins

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Interesting article. Thanks John.

People are generally unaware that "cure" in reference to cancer means only "five year disease free survival". It does not mean permanent cure. If the same disease with the same cellular structure recurs after five year disease free survival, it would still be treated a fresh disease. So, entropy, yes. I would agree.

It would also appear that there is a random selection prior to natural selection in terms of evolution. Natural selection deals with survival. But why a single cell or a group of cells begins to mutate differently perahps indicates some degree of randomness.

The status quoist have put such shackles around research in biotechnology that serious research is deeply hampered. Yet, who knows, if randomness exists a eureka moment may be just around the corner.

good point on cancer "cure" term.

One thing that seems left out is that a random hit, degradation, like a gamma-ray direct-hit, can mess things up and not really cause a cancer... Perhaps birth of a new prion. That can also be degrading/spreading into a death. But, in any case, complex sequences of miles of very small atoms/molecules, will ultimately get scrambled. One will ultimately spread.

The "status quo" putting shackles on research is often money-strings via individuals and politics. Science is most often not the culprit. Human greed can do it too.

I just went downstairs to get my expresso and found that I forgot to put my cup in the machine. While cleaning up the counter top, plugs still in all the sockets, I decided I'm likely to die from my own absent-mindedness.


Not everything about cancer is so gloomy, as the author would like us to believe. There have been success stories. It is not my intention to be advertizing for pharma companies but Glivec by Novartis has successfully "cured" many Blood related cancer patients. Herceptin by Gene n Tech, a drug designed specifically for breast cancer patients who carry overexpressed HER2/neu protein (the overexpresseion of this protein does not allow conventional chemotherapy or radiation therapy to work) is saving lives of an amazing number of breast cancer patients worldwide. Treatment by CyberKnife on early stage prostate cancer patients has a five year disease free survival rate of nearly 95%. Current trial of a vaccine for Human Papilloma Virus, which is responsible for cervical cancer in women is very encouraging too. There are several other novel targeted therapy drugs currently being used with varying degree of success.

Had the shackles not been there we would have had all of these at least a decade earlier.

There are other positives too, depending upon how one looks at it. Cancer does not kill immediately. It allows time to reflect, rearrange life, make the bucket list and live it. I personally knew the author of this wonderful experience, The Joy of Cancer.


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