Cancer and Genetic Mutation

Almost all cancers that develop in our body have a gene dysfunction at their root.

Genes are small pieces of DNA that make up chromosomes. It is necessary to think of these small DNA fragments as a kind of user manual, each gene contains different messages about the work that needs to be done inside the cell. In short, genes determine what needs to be done inside the cell and regulate cell function, and therefore all body functions.

For example, some genes direct the secretion of hormones, some regulate antioxidation, some provide protein production, some control cell proliferation, development and growth, some direct the destruction of old and unhealthy cells, and some repair the advanced DNA (gene) damage. DNA damage means genetic disorder, gene mutation, that is, it means a wrong user manual, so it must be corrected or destroyed, otherwise things can come to an undesirable point, for example, cancer development, disruption of hormone production, etc.

I said that it can come to an undesirable point, because not every genetic disorder has serious consequences, if you live healthy, your body can tolerate the gene disorder, there may be mild symptoms.

If you live unhealthy, for example, if you are malnourished, exposed to toxins, drink alcohol, or are exposed to stress, the present gene mutation symptoms may be more severe. We call such internal and external factors as epigenetic factors, which cause the genetic defect to have more severe consequences. Therefore, for example, breast cancer does not develop in every BRCA mutation, epigenetic factors become determinant.

Genetic mutations either come from the mother or father, or occur later in our lives. If it is inherited, it is called “germline mutation” and it is seen in all cells in the body, this genetic defect can be inherited to the next generations (there is a 50% chance). If the genetic defect (mutation) is not inherited but in any period of our life, it is called “somatic mutation” and in this case, the genetic defect is not seen in all cells, but only in the affected cells, they are not inherited to the next generations.

One of the most known genetic mutations is the BRCA gene mutation seen in breast cancer. The BRCA gene is a gene that normally repairs DNA damage, a mutation in the BRCA gene causes this gene to not function. For example, a DNA defect in the breast cell cannot be repaired, so cancer may develop.

Diseases caused by genetic disorders are now better recognized and genetic counseling should be sought in suspected cases.

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