Understanding Why Cancer Spreads to the Lungs
According to a study out of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and published in the journal Cell, the same mechanisms that prevent people from having an inflammatory response to harmless environmental exposures in day-to-day life could also allow rogue cancer cells to spread to the lungs. Researchers have discovered and described how the lung’s unique underlying immune environment enables cancer to readily spread to the organ.
Nearly 90 percent of cancer deaths occur when cancer spreads to a different part of the body, and this new location presents a major obstacle to eliminating the cancer. The lungs are a common site of metastasis for primary bladder, breast, colon, kidney, melanoma, ovary, pancreas, bone, rectal, stomach, thyroid, uterine and lung cancer.
“Every time we take a breath, we bring things into our lungs that could produce a pretty dramatic and potentially harmful immune response – but the majority of the time they don’t because in a normal, healthy state our immune systems are set up to accommodate for this,” said one researcher. “The same ‘normal’ mechanisms put in place to suppress immune responses against harmless material taken into the body during the act of breathing can also suppress immune responses to the colonizing cancer cells that lead to metastatic tumors in the lungs. This creates an immunologically favorable niche – meaning the environment is prime for cancer cells to slip through the immune system’s defenses, thrive and grow in the lungs.”
Hopefully, this knowledge can help researchers figure out a way to prevent cancer from metastasizing to the lungs.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.