In the previous cancer post, I mentioned in passing the degree of differentiation is cells in a tumour, this is called tumour grading. To put it simply, as cells mature they become more differentiated exhibiting the properties that they were programmed to do. The more differentiated they are the less likely they are to undergo a cell cycle and divide.
Can normal cells return back to their undifferentiated immature state? No. But cancer cells can which is what the point of this is all about. As cancer advances, the cancer cells becomes less and less differentiated returning to their original immature state. The more immature they are, the faster they undergo the cell cycle and divide.
Grading a cancer depends on how differentiated the cell is. The less differentiated it is, the more aggresive the type of cancer. To make things simple, here is a picture of the 4 stages of grading and the level of differentiation in a cell.
Both initial clinical prognosis (how bad it is and how long you have to live) as well as treatment options depend on the tumour grades. But by no means is it the only thing to rely on to determine your treatment options. That however comes in the next cancer topic.
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.