Going back to the cell cycle, there are 3 checkpoints in which a cell has to pass through before it is allowed to divide. One at the end of the G1 phase, one at the end of the S phase and the other at the end of the G2 phase. These checkpoints check for any mutations in the DNA and ensures that the daughter cells are a clone of the parent cell.
If for some reason there are mutations in the DNA, the cell cycle comes to a halt and the cell tries to repair the mutated part of the DNA. If for some reason the mutation cannot be repaired, the cell undergoes self-termination and dies ensuring that the mutation doesn’t pass on to the next generation.
Cancer cells are the result of these mutations escaping the checkpoint. But have no fear for a single mutation doesn’t result in cancer cells right away. More often than not, they cause benign tumour growths. However, if the mutations are allowed to gradually progress in stages, it is usually when the mutations critically damage the ability for the check itself that the changes in the cell becomes out of control, resulting in the malignant tumour cell.
While mutations in the cell are rare, most of them are confined to the junk that makes up our total DNA. So you don’t have to worry. The body usually takes care of itself. But of course…nothing it perfect.
This year Footsteps in the Mirror will be blogging to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research which is a non-profit organisation that helps fund cancer research throughout the world. If you’re willing to help, you can sign up on the Blogathon website and pledge your amount right here. Help make a difference, no matter how small it may be.