Why do whales not get cancer?



I thought cancer risk increases with higher body mass.. so why are the largest creatures alive like blue whales not covered in tumors?

In: Biology

They certainly can get cancer, but the answer lies in their genes. They have some interesting genes that seem to have developed or even evolved faster than the rest of their bodies would suggest, and several in particular that regulate their cell cycle, proliferation, and the process of in-cell DNA repair. Basically, all the things that maintain healthy cells.

That is actually called the cancer paradox.
It’s not quite clear whyly, but it is to be assumed that large animals simply are better at dealing with cancer.

On very fascinating idea is that of metacancer. The amount of cancer that would kill a person won’t bother a whale much, so it can keep growing until the cancer may get cancer…

As In rapidly growing cells that compete with the tumor.
And that, in effect limits it’s growth to manageable level’s.

Some largest animals on Earth have cancer-supressing genes, for example I believe that elephants and rhinos have them. Whales also have similar genes and top of that the way cell-replication process works is bit different to that of humans, so they are much less likely to develop cancer that way.