Why is Heart Cancer an Extremely Rare Ailment?

Cancer can affect any organ in the body. Though the exact origin of this prevalent health threat is a subject of research, there are certain cancer types which are extremely rare.

Heart cancer

is one such type. In 20 percent cases, the tumors are benign or arise from the normal tissues of the organ. The rest of the diagnosed cases of this cancer are of metastatic nature. Here, the heart develops cancer which has its origin in a remote organ of the body.

Why is Heart Cancer an Extremely Rare Ailment?

To appreciate the answer to this question in technical terms, we must know the basics of cell biology and cancer ailment. The building blocks of the human body are cells. They come together to form tissues and muscles, which in turn unite to form organs.

Every cell has its central section called the nucleus. It has genetic information made up of the molecules’ DNAs. These molecules form chemical structures called the chromosomes. Set of chromosomes are technically known as genes. These are the instructions followed by the cell to perform its normal task.

Another type of fundamental molecules, the RNAs read the genes and produce proteins. The latter are the substances which carry out the actual tasks of a cell.

Cancer develops in an organ when certain environmental factors change the positions of the DNAs in the chromosomes. Such an undesirable effect is called mutation. When the basic instructions to be followed by a normal cell are compromised, the RNA molecules instead produce harmful proteins. They turn healthy cells into rogue or malignant cells. Mutation is an uncontrollable or an unavoidable event in nature until now.

Its consequences are radical changes in the basic functions of a normal cell. While a healthy cell grows and dies its programmed death within a specific period of time, an unhealthy or cancerous cell multiplies at an abnormal rate. It does not undergo its programmed death. As a result of the huge replication of rogue cells, chunks of these unhealthy cells are formed. They are called the cancer tumor. If they stay and grow at the specific site of the organ, they are called benign type or non-life threatening.

But, if they start interfering with the normal functions of the surrounding cells, then they are called malignant or cancerous ones. These cells spread the disease to fresh and remote locations of the body. The process is technically called metastasis. Most heart cancers are formed owing to metastasis.

Mutation happens mostly during the normal process of cell division in organs. It is a vital process where the old cells of an organ die to be replaced by new cells. But generally, it is an order or regulation in this process to maintain a balance between birth and death of an organ’s cells.

In the case of heart, it is believed by the doctors that its cells stop division at a very early age in humans. Their optimal development takes place within a short period of time and especially during the earlier years of human life. This ceases the requirement of cell division and replacement of aged cells with new ones. Owing to this reason, risk factors of cancer cannot target the heart.

Another reason for the very rare diagnosis of heart cancer symptoms is that those who develop this disease get very less time to become aware of it. The person loses life very quickly because of the very important role heart plays in human body.

As a result, the cases of cancer in the heart do not get enough medical attention on time. According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, only one case on average of this cancer is reported every year.


In 2009, Swedish researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reported that heart cells do undergo cell division. The results of their study were published in the April edition of the journal Science.

However, the rate of growth is very slow. According to an estimate, cells of the heart grow through division by 1 percent by the time a person attains 20 years of age.

Very few studies are carried out on this subject. The availability of credible information on

heart cancer

is also very low. The primary reason for this state is the rarity of the ailment. But, the developments which happened in this field in the year 2009 have definitely opened up scope for further studies on the basics of this cancer.

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