Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Scientists Ponder the Prospect of Contagious Cancer

This article starts off by saying how everyone is aware that cancer cells die with the host. However, scientists are now wondering if cancer cells could press on to another body, in other words, contagious cancer. Even though it is not a huge threat right now, they believe that it can be a "medical possibility." There were two known stories in which one, a 19 year old laboratory worker, pricked herself with a syringe filled with colon cancer cells and developed a tumor in her hand. The second story involved a surgeon who got cancer from his patient, when he accidentally cut himself during an operation. Although this is very uncommon in humans, "contagious cancer" has been found in three kinds of animals: dogs, tasmanian devils, and soft shell clams. Cancer spreads through dogs during sexual intercourse since their intercourse involves a long period of time for cancer cells to easily cross over. In tasmanian devils, cancer is spread through wounds, when they try to "tear each other's faces off." 
All of this makes scientists ponder over the risk of such diseases happening to humans. Right now, it remains a curiosity, otherwise contagious cancer would be everywhere. 
This article was very interesting because I had no idea cancer was contagious in any kind of animal. I'm glad I came upon such an article because now I know how there actually is a such thing as contagious cancer and how it spreads to dogs and tasmanian devils. It is also good how scientists are researching the possibility for such diseases to happen in humans. 


  1. Kajal,

    I found this blog post extremely interesting as I also had no idea that it was possible to "spread" cancer to another person or between animals. Just evaluating how horrible cancer is currently, the threat of contagious cancer is now something I feel should be highly considered and taken into account by medical personal. I'm thankful that scientists have been looking into this curiosity as you called it because now if the time comes where awareness should be spread it can be done with research to back it up.

  2. While this is a very interesting and frightening concept, I think that there is a significant amount of research that needs to be done in order to draw any overreaching conclusions, such as calling cancer contagious. The instances listed are isolated and few and far between, as the article mentioned. However, due to the fact that it is possible among other animals, I don't think it is completely out of the question that it may happen among humans as well.

  3. This is a very interesting post because it proposes your worst nightmare coming true. If cancer were to spread contagiously it would pose a huge threat to humans. However, there isn't much research on this and as stated in the article there are only two known cases of this happening so for now, we can all sleep at night peacefully.

  4. Although, as you stated, there has been a few documented cases in which it could be deducted that cancer spread from a "contaminated" person to otherwise healthy person, I think overall that this article does a very good job in fear-mongering. Contagious cancer is a very scary proposition, and until much much MUCH more research is done, this theory can just continue to be one of science fiction (and hopefully that is the category it will stay in too!!!)