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Cancer spreads quicker in colder temperatures

Published on 25/11/2013

A cold environment can encourage rapid and aggressive cancer growth, according to a recent animal study.

Cancer spread in mice quicker in colder environments

The cold is known to suppress the anti-tumour immune response and this study further highlights how cancer cells change and grow in a cold environment. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

When the temperature drops, the human body enters survival mode and blood vessels narrow to maintain body heat and the extremities start to feel the effect of this. When the temperature drops significantly the body focuses on keeping the vital organs including the brain and the heart fully functional.

A team led by Kathleen M.Kokolus found that a cold environment changes how cancer cells in mice grown and spread throughout the body. The team compared cancer growth and spread in mice house at both 22°C and 30°C.

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, one  in three of us will develop cancer in our lifetimes.

They concluded that some cancers, including those of the pancreas, colon, skin and breast developed quicker and spread earlier in the cold environment. Even mice that were used to cold temperatures experienced aggressive tumour growth.

Many cancer therapies are aimed at supporting the immune system control the spread of cancer. This immune response is driven predominantly by T cells, a type of white blood cell that is charged with the task of fighting cancer.

The research found that mice in the warm temperatures had T cells that produced higher quantities of anti-cancer substances compared to those in cold mice. At the end of the study, the authors wondered whether treating cancer patients in warmer rooms could yield more successful outcomes.

Health insurance can give you access to the latest treatments should you wish to consider alternative cancer therapies.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013

Categories:  Health InsuranceHealthMedical
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