When somebody dies of cancer, what exactly is the actual reason the body stops working?

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When somebody dies of cancer, what exactly is the actual reason the body stops working?

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The cancer cells have overwhelmed some vital organ and crushed or starved it until it gets horribly infected or can no longer function.

Exactly what the failure mode is will vary case by case, depending on the type of cancer and how it has metastasized.

We typically list the root cause (cancer) on the death certificate and not whatever secondary infection or organ failure actually pushed them over the edge.

The actual physical causes of death are as varied as the cancers themselves. If you want to know how a cancer caused someone’s death you need to know the kind of cancer and what the cancerous cells original purpose was.

Its not the same for every case of cancer, but a generalisation would be 1 of 2 things.

Either the tumours are taking up too much nutrients/space from other organs and thus causes those organs to fail.

Or tumours block off something important like airways or arteries/veins.

Here are several options, but there are many more

Cancer might destroy the immune system so they die of infection. This happened a lot in early days of HIV, which is literally an “immunodeficiency” virus.

Cancer might invade the brain and disrupt various body control mechanisms, or create blockages in blood and spinal fluid flow that create a sudden increase in pressure in the cranial cavity and crushes parts of the brain.

Cancer could block major arteries and airways so they suffocate.

Cancer can destroy the body’s metabolism, so they basically lose their appetite and lose weight so it’s like they are starving to death.

Cancer can cause severe internal bleeding.