BIOL 304 Week 1 Discussion

BIOL 304 Week 1 Discussion

Topic 1
1) Errors in mitosis can lead to the formation of cancerous cells because of changes in chromosomes that can contribute to the formation and progression of tumors. Our bodies are normally able to dispose of cells that have damaged DNA before they can turn cancerous. However, the ability to do so can decrease as age increases. 
Errors in meiosis would not lead to the formation of cancerous cells since the cells are not splitting their chromosomes in half, unlike mitosis which creates duplicate cells. Hence, errors in meiosis do not lead to the formation of cancerous cells.

2)  Cancer is often referred to as a disease of the cell cycle because cancer is a disease of uncontrolled cell devision and spread into surrounding tissues and organs.

3) Hyperplasia is an enlargement of an organ or tissue because there are too many cells being generated there. Benign tumor growth is a mass of uncontrolled cell growth but does not invade or

BIOL 304 Week 1 Discussion
BIOL 304 Week 1 Discussion

spread into tissues or organs. The only difference is that hyperplasia is the enlargement in organs and tissues while benign growth is outside and does not invade.

Topic 2
1) The five most common cancers based on 2020 data are breast cancer, lung and bronchus, prostate, colon and rectum, and melanoma od the skin.
African American men have the highest mortality rate while Asian/Pacific Islander women have a lower mortality rate. Rates of cancer are higher in countries which have a high life expectancy and better standard of living. However, for certain types of cancer the opposite is true. Those in poorer living conditions are also at an increased risk because they are not getting screenings done often enough.

2) As a society we can decrease some of these disparities by increasing and encouraging health screenings and governments should assist in helping those without insurance and underinsured screened more often. I would start at an international level where an international group such as the World Health Organization can try to support and encourage countries to provide more health screenings in underserved communities. From there this encouragement should work its way down to different countries and specific locales where cancer rates are highest because local governments are probably the most able to pinpoint this assistance.

Topic 1

Cancer is caused by mutations within cells. The mutations cancer cells have made it so they grow rapidly and without

BIOL 304 Week 1 Discussion
BIOL 304 Week 1 Discussion

stopping. This is done by the cancer cell ignoring or overwriting the checkpoints in the cell cycle, specifically mitosis that would normally tell the cell to stop dividing or growing. As cancer starts with a single mutated cell, as it replicates itself each copy replicates itself as well, leading to exponential cell growth, usually seen as a tumor. (BioInteractive, 2014) (MayoClinic, 2021)

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Older people are more likely to develop cancer because cells become more damaged over time as they replace themselves and the damage builds up, increasing the likelihood of mutations and errors when replicating. This damage is caused by small errors adding up in addition to mutations caused by outside sources such as UV rays and smoke that build up damage over time. (CancerResearchUK, 2021) Meiosis affects the replication of gametes so if cancerous cells appear in meiosis it can be problematic during the formation of an embryo but does not affect an individual as they age. (Maayan, 2011)

Hyperplasia is the increase in cell number caused by a stimulus and can be a precursor to cancer or a benign tumor. Hyperplasia is often only visible under a microscope. (NCI) A benign tumor is not a sign of cancer, does not spread, and usually does not grow back if removed. Benign tumors are an area where cells reproduce or die more than they are supposed to but unlike cancerous tumors, they are generally unharmful unless they show up on or near a vital organ. (Cleveland Clinic, 2021) (MedlinePlus, 2016)

Topic 2

The five most common cancers based on 2020 data provided by the NCI were breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma of the skin. Gender, age, environment, and behavior all affect the rates of different cancers that appear. For example, older individuals are more likely to get most cancers. Females are more likely to get breast cancer while men are more likely to get prostate cancer. Smokers and those living in highly polluted areas are more likely to get lung cancer than those who live in areas with cleaner air and do not smoke. (MayoClinic, 2021) According to gender, age, environment, behavior, and race all affect mortality rates for cancers as well. For example, cancer mortality is highest in African American men and lowest in Asian/Pacific Islander women. Cancer mortality rates are generally lower in situations with better healthcare and education. (NCI, 2020)

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States with one of every four deaths in the United States dying due to cancer. (CDC, 2019) It is important to provide affordable healthcare for those suffering from cancer as well as to provide regular health checkups to try to find cancer early before it is a problem. Education about cancer and its causes is also important to help individuals avoid behaviors or environments that could increase rates of cancer such as education on smoking.

If I had the power to make a difference on a major scale, I think a good place to start would be making sure cancer and its causes are taught in school as that would be a small addition to most health classes that are already being provided so there wouldn’t need to be too much extra money put into the system. I would try to then provide healthcare in whatever form I could, such as affordable or free regular health checkups and affordable treatment for cancer if I had the budget and influence. In America healthcare is expensive and it is not affordable to treat cancer for many families and individuals. According to the total cost of cancer treatment on average is $150,000, with 12 cancer drugs approved by the FDA in 2012, 11 cost more than $100,000 annually. This number may be much greater or smaller depending on the patient’s cancer, treatments, insurance, and resources. (Fasola, 2022) I would try to make treatment and healthcare as a whole more affordable, possibly through funding through taxes like some other countries already do or funding through investors and charities.


Biointeractive. (2014, November 21). The Eukaryotic Cell Cycle and Cancer. HHMI BioInteractive. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

Cancerresearchuk. (2021, August 11). Age and cancer. Cancer Research UK. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

CDC. (2019). Cancer Statistics At a Glance. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

Cleveland Clinic. (2021, October 10). Benign tumor: Definition, types, Causes & Management. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

Fasola, C. E. (2022, March 15). The Cost of Cancer. SE Radiation Oncology Group. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

Maayan, I. (2011, March 24). Meiosis in Humans. The Embryo Project Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

Mayoclinic. (2021, April 27). Cancer. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

MedlinePlus. (2016, October 31). Benign tumors. MedlinePlus. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

NCI. (2020, September 25). Cancer statistics. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

NCI. (n.d.). NCI Dictionary of Cancer terms. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from