DEC 24, 2015 8:12 AM PST

Heart Cancer: Is There Such a Thing?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In 2014 the most common cancer diagnosis was breast cancer, followed by prostate, lung, colon, skin, and brain cancer. By contrast, the Mayo clinic estimates that leading hospitals around the country see less than one case of heart cancer every year. Ever wonder why this is so?

The short answer has to do with cell division, or lack thereof, in the heart cells. Unlike skin or colon cells that are constantly dividing and shedding, heart cells don't usually participate in this renewal process (unless there's been damages). With such few cell divisions, heart cells have very small chances of accumulating enough mutations to become cancerous. Additionally, the heart doesn't get exposed to too many external carcinogens, other than those found in blood. This also significantly lowers the mutation rate of heart cells.

Though rare, heart cancer is possible, and it usually involves cancer from other nearby organs like the breast, kidney, and lung. Elsewhere in the body, cancer can also migrate large distances to affect the heart.

While the chances of getting heart cancer is low, we still need to remember to take good care of this vital organ because heart disease is still among one of the biggest killers for adults.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 17, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 17, 2019
Watch Seals Band Together to Scare a Great White Shark Away
Great white sharks are rather renowned for being massive and merciless predators of the ocean, and among their favorite prey are fur seals, which are rich...
JAN 08, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 08, 2020
Florence Nightingale: Nursing Pioneer, and Data Scientist?
Florence Nightingale, the pioneer in modern nursing care, served as a nurse manager in the Crimean War in the 1850s. Due to her wholeheartedly devotion to...
JAN 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 19, 2020
A Brief Summary of Everything We Know About Pluto
Pluto was once considered one of the solar system’s planets but was later downgraded to the status of ‘dwarf’ planet after several more s...
JAN 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 23, 2020
Meet SF6, Our Frenemy in Fighting Climate Change
Sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, is a non-flammable, non-toxic, synthetic gas. First discovered back in 1901, this odorless and colorless gas is commonly used...
FEB 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 10, 2020
Mudskippers Aren't Like Most Fish...
Most fish spend almost all of their lives in a body of water, be it the ocean or some smaller lake or stream. Mudskippers, on the other hand, are a unique...
FEB 25, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 25, 2020
The Art of Kinetics
The conservation of energy is a universal rule in our universe.  This principle of nature dictates that in an isolated system, the total amount of ene...
Loading Comments...