The Heart's Resilience: Why Cancer Rarely Strikes
Have you ever wondered why “heart cancer” is so rare? Despite the high incidence of cancer in various organs, such as the lungs, stomach, breast, and prostate, the heart seems to be immune to this deadly disease. What are the underlying factors that make the heart less susceptible to cancer compared to other organs in the body?
Three Reasons Why the Heart Is Not Susceptible to Cancer:
1. The heart has a unique closed circulatory system
Unlike other organs such as the oesophagus, stomach, colon, nasopharynx, or lungs, which are prone to invasion by cancer cells, the heart and blood vessels form a closed circulatory system and are self-contained, less exposed to external stimuli. Consequently, the likelihood of cancer developing in the heart is relatively low.
2. The heart's fast blood flow rate
With over 100,000 heartbeats per day and the ability to pump over 7,000 litres of blood throughout the body, the heart’s blood flow rate is so rapid that even cancer cells are unable to survive. If cancer cells invade the bloodstream and flow to the heart, they are immediately washed away, making the chances of cancer spreading to the heart extremely rare. This also includes the spread of cancer from other parts of the body to the heart.
3. The power of connective and muscle tissues
Unlike other organs in the body that contain epithelial tissues, which are more prone to cancerous changes, the heart is primarily made up of connective and muscle tissues that have a greater resistance to cancer. Cancer cells tend to invade and grow in epithelial tissues, which are found in organs such as the breast, lungs, colon, and pancreas. However, the heart's composition makes it less susceptible to invasion by cancer cells, reducing the likelihood of developing cancer compared to other organs in the body.
The incidence of heart tumours is not zero
While it's rare, there is still a chance of developing heart tumours. The good news is that they're rare and mostly benign primary tumours. Plus, the chances of getting them are extremely low. However, it's worth noting that middle-aged women are more prone to develop them.
Heart tumours, even if benign, can lead to serious symptoms like palpitations, chest tightness, and pain. As they grow, they can interfere with the heart's ability to contract properly, which can impair its functioning and increase the risk of sudden death or stroke due to blocked blood vessels.
Chemotherapy for cancer in organs other than the heart can affect the heart's blood pumping efficiency, making it more vulnerable to heart disease and heart failure.
That's why it's crucial to seek medical attention if you experience any signs of heart discomfort, even if you don't have any symptoms. Regular heart check-ups are also essential to maintain a healthy body and catch any potential issues early on.