Elephants can help us about fighting cancer

why-elephants-rarely-get-cancer

Are you trying to find out as much animal facts as possible or pave the way to help human fighting against cancer but can’t? This elephant facts will be helpful suggestion for you: Elephants can help us about fighting cancer in humans

It turns out just 4.8% of known elephant deaths are related to cancer. For humans, cancer-related deaths are between 11% and 25%, scientists say.

If the cancer-removal efficiency is independent of the size of the animal (let’s say 99.9999%) then a fixed proportion (one in a million in our example) of all cancer cells will proceed to become noticeable cancers. If one in a billion cells turns cancerous (or has a cancerous offspring) each year, then the number of cancers arising each year will be one per million billion cells (ie one in 10^15). Since there are between 10^13 and 10^14 cells in the human body the chance of cancer is a bit more than one in a hundred years but less than one in ten years – which seems about right. (Of course I just picked the numbers to make it come out like that.)

But for an elephant, which is about 4 or 5 times the linear “size” of a human the volume, and so the number of cells, is greater by the cube of that factor, ie about 100 times greater. So over a comparable lifetime it should end up with 100 times as many cancers in its body. If cancers were all of limited size then none of them might be fatal, but of course the bad ones are exactly the opposite of “limited”, and once they get off to a good start they are certain to be eventually fatal. In the elephant (IF the defense mechanism was only as effective as ours) the first such cancer would be quite likely to occur in the first year of life.

If the cancer grew at the same rate as the animal then the elephant might just end up at the end of 20 years with 20 or so small cancers in its body, but here is where “exponential” growth really does come in. An aggressive cancer grows by doubling its size over approximately equal intervals and so grows exponentially fast, whereas the hosting body typically stops growing at maturity. So even a small cancer acquired in the first year of life would kill the elephant quite quickly.

For more animal: tiger facts

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