About Cancer And How It Cripples Immune System

How cancer paralyzes immune system?


Cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way. Government and NGOs are trying to spread awareness about cancer and encouraging the generations to understand ways to prevent and detect it.  According to the World Health Organisation () estimates, 9.6 million cancer deaths were reported globally in the year 2018. The number is shooting up, might be due to several reasons including changing lifestyles and improved diagnostics. By 2030, the figure is expected to rise to 13 million deaths. The time to act is NOW. Together, we can create a future without cancer. 

Know what cancer is and how cancer cell cripple the immune system

Cancer is a disease characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and never cease to proliferate while normal cells only divide a finite number of times before they die or reach a perpetual state of evolution. Normal cells proliferate and stop growing when they come in contact to nearby tissue (contact inhibition) while cancer cells ignore and invade nearby tissue.

The cancer cell may look very different from normal cells, different size, may be larger or smaller, abnormally shaped and nucleolus (control center) may have abnormal cells. The cancer cell can pass easily through smaller gaps as well as applying a much greater force on its environment as compared to other cells. It often has the ability to spread throughout the body using the blood or lymphatic system and destroy healthy tissue by invasion. Tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous or circulatory system and can also release the hormone that alters body function.


Cancer is the cause of increased morbidity and mortality worldwide. The most common sites of cancer among men are lung, prostate, colon, rectum, stomach, and liver, while in women the common sites are breast, colon, cervix, ovary, and stomach.

Cancer occurs when a cell’s gene mutation that occurs after birth (not inherited) which make the cell unable to correct its DNA damage and unable to commit suicide (called apoptosis or natural death). A number of forces can cause gene mutation such as smoking, radiation, virus, carcinogenic chemicals, obesity, hormones, chronic inflammations and lack of exercise.

General symptoms and signs include fatigue, lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin, weight changes (loss or gain), change in bowel or bladder habits, persistent cough or difficulty in breathing, hoarseness of voice, persistent unexplained fever, joint pain or bleeding. The symptoms and signs will vary depending on what part of the body is affected.

The immune system is comprised of two components: the physical barrier and innate immune cells.


Physical barriers include our skin, gastric (stomach) acid, and hairs in the nose and ears. These physical barriers play an important role in keeping our body healthy.

Innate immune cells, called neutrophils and monocytes are critical for the immune system. These cells are first responders and they work to gain immediate control of the situation and sends appropriate back up to the adaptive immune system.

Adaptive immunity– It is made up of B-cells and T-cells, which have a special memory function. When they found dangerous germs or any type of cancer cells ever pops up in your body, the B-cells and T-cells can recognize them immediately and move for the vicious attack. So, both are essential for the effectiveness of the immune system.

Each of us is born with an intricate defense system that works to protect our bodies against illness and disease. The immune system is made up of a network of cells and organs that work together to detect potential threats within the body and react to fight those invaders. If all is working correctly, invaders are identified and the appropriate.

Cancer cells cripple the immune system by sending out biological ‘drones’ to fight and thus survive. Drones are small vesicles called exosomes, which are tiny lipid vesicles with a diameter of less than 1/100th of red blood cells,  circulating in the blood and armed with a protein called PD-L1 that cause T-cells to tire before they have a chance to reach the tumor. Since single tumor cells are able to secrete many copies of exosomes, thus interaction between PD-L1 exosomes and t-cells provides a highly effective system to suppress anti-tumor immunity in the whole body. This explains why can not a patient have weakened the immune system.

Cancer patient usually responds to anti-PD-1 therapy that disrupts immune suppression to fight tumors. The anti-PD-1 therapy blocks interaction between PD-1, a protein on the surface of T-cells and PD-L1, counterpart molecule on tumor cells thus reviving T cells and allowing them to unleash killing power on the tumor.


14 cancer types have recently been declared by the World Cancer Research Fund, found to be causally linked with being overweight or obese, which includes liver, breast, prostate and kidney cancer. There is always an ongoing tussle between Fat and Fit.  But cancer risk can be reduced by avoiding by avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol intake, limit UV ray exposure from sun and tanning bed, maintaining a healthy diet and level of fitness and seeking regular medical care. Also, research has shown that there is a growing urgency in living a healthier and happier lifestyle by being active in exercising and maintaining a healthy diet which are the key contributors towards reducing cancer rates.

Eating healthy can be measured by including more fruits, vegetables and whole grains on the plate say in the measure of 2 and 5 – which equals 2 fruits and 5 serving of veggies every day. For keeping oneself physically active, a commitment of at least 5 hours per week is mandatory with each day being an active one. On, 4th February, let us all work together towards reducing cancer risks afflicting lives and improving cancer control with the motto – “I can, we can”


One Comment

  1. Good insight

    Bottom line is #NoDisease can survive in alkaline environment. Go for
    Sufficient intake of almonds and berries
    Say No #ProcessedFoods

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