Why does for example smoking cause cancer? How do various toxins in general make your body start growing cells uncontrollably?

21 views
0

Why does for example smoking cause cancer? How do various toxins in general make your body start growing cells uncontrollably?

In: 0

Like any chemical it alters the cells during regeneration. If a cell mutates and starts attacking healthy cells that’s cancer.

Some of the products from cigarette smoke are capable of clinging on to the DNA strand and causing damage; kind of like how a key in your car’s ignition is normal and doesn’t cause any problems, but when you start adding a bunch of heavy keychains and other decorations, it can pull it out and break things.

It’s because of what cancer is: a mutation in the DNA that doesn’t immediately kill the cell, but rather makes it divide (multiply) uncontrollably.

So, various things can cause cancer: radiation, toxins, etc. Anything that can damage DNA can cause cancer. And typically the damaging agent outright kills a lot of cells, but some of them get mutated so they don’t die but go cancerous instead.

Smoking accumulates a bunch of crap in your lungs, and a lot of your lung cells actually die but they’re replaced because the body has a mechanism for replacing damaged cells. But the cells that get mutated to cancerous cells and don’t die, will start multiplying rapidly and taking over the lung “space”, and that will eventually result in lungs that no longer function for you. So you suffocate and die.

A carcinogen is anything that can cause mutations, i.e. damage your DNA. That can be anything from soot particles in your lungs to UV light breaking up molecules. The overwhelming vast majority of the resulting mutations are irrelevant, as they are either fixed, target unnecessary parts of the genome, or simply cause the individual cell to die.

Cancer happens if you get extremely unlucky and the thing that gets damaged is precisely the mechanism which controls the life cycle of the cell. Normal cells have a life cycle where they divide and then die off, but if that mechanism is broken without the cell dying, it just keeps dividing uncontrollably.