Question of the day: What is in a tumor?

Question of the day: What is in a tumor?

The answer may be surprising. Many people think that tumors are essentially large blobs of cancer cells. This is NOT the case. Tumors are complex, and contain many different kinds of cells/stuctures. Some of the things found in tumors:

1. Cancer cells. Of course, there are cancer cells in tumors, but in some cases, they represent only a very small percentage of the total number of cells.

2. Fibroblasts. These cells are numerous in tumors and frequently support the growth of the cancer cells. The cancer cells ‘trick’ them into providing help.

3. Immune cells. Different kinds of immune system cells are found in tumors. These include lymphocytes and macrophages.

4. Blood vessels. No cell can live without a supply of nutrients and oxygen and the cells in a tumor are no different. The blood vessels bring in food and can take migrating cancer cells out to distant locations.

5. Lymphatic vessels. The lymphatic system is very extensive and moves a fluid called lymph around the body. Tumors also have lymphatic vessels. They can also serve as cancer cell highways to far away places in the body.
Note that the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels in tumors are not normal and that fact can influence the response of tumors to cancer treatments.

6. Fluid. Our cells are bathed in water and cancer cells/tumors are no different. Tumors actually can accumulate enough fluid to have more pressure than normal. Again, this change can cause problems with cancer treatments.

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This information was copied from the site linked above. Your feedback is greatly appreciated so please feel free to leave commments, ideas and suggestions in the comment area.

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