How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Anthony Bray, MD Your Own Question
Anthony Bray, MD
Anthony Bray, MD, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10341
Experience:  14 years experience in the field of Family Practice
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Anthony Bray, MD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

The medical explanation of cancer says that the cells have

Customer Question

The medical explanation of cancer says that the cells have evolved to evade the immune system. If this is the case then how do you explain the following:
1. How can a cancer cell move away from the primary site to a new site when it needs to pass through tissues? It needs to cross epithelium tissue layers of blood vessels and other tissues in the destination sites. This is normally facilitated by immune participation eg mast cells, T cells etc., releasing histamine, perforins etc. that cause vasodilation in the specific area and permeability of the membranes/ epithelium layers, so that other cells can move through a blood vessel (even a capillary) to reach for instance a site of damage or infection or perceived damage area as in the case of autoimmunity.
2. A cancer is a vast community of different cells, which include immune cells and stromal cells, which are normally built by the participation of the immune system building with fibrin etc. If cancer stem cells are not aided by the immune cells then how is the stroma built without immune cell involvement?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Rick, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hi. My name is***** and I am online and available to help you today. Thank you for your patience.

Question and answer is just one of the services I offer. I can also provide you with additional services, such as live telephone or skype consultation, at a small additional cost. Let me know if you are interested.

1. It is masked from the immune system

2. Excellent question....and it is being worked on by some of the best minds that Humanity has to offer.

Does this make sense to you?

Don't forget to mash the positive (excellent is the most fun to push) feedback button.....without this important step on your part the funds you left on deposit are not released and my kids will spend another cold winter barefoot ;)

It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you, but, as I do work for tips, I want to make sure you are happy before rating me.

Dr. Rick MD FACS

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You have not answered the question. If the cancer cells are doing things that can only be done with the help of the immune cells then how can it be masked from the immune system, by what reasoning?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can an oncologist answer this?
Expert:  Dr. Rick, MD replied 1 year ago.

sure. I'll opt out.

Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.


I see that your question has remained open some time without response. I will be happy to discuss this issue with you. ( I am not an oncologist but a physician in Family Medicine --- my background includes being a chemist and worked on research projects connected to cancer treatment research)

You mistake some aspects of cancer in your comments above....The immune system does not aid or assist a cancer. A cancer is not so much as you seem to describe a community of cells as normal tissues or organ systems.

First of all it is amazing property of cells that grow and divide but are kept within very tight boundaries and do not normally grow out of control. The skin does not grow uncontrollably without bounds although it grows and cells divide all through our lives. This control of cell growth is an amazing aspect of organization that we take for granted. So a cancer tends to start with some mutation which causes this growth control to break down....when a skin cancer develops it may be that a group of cells starts to grow without STOPPING when it should. It may not obey the pressure from adjacent cells...dividing cells continues and these abnormal cells push normal ones out of their way ....

The immune system is not geared in general to attack our OWN CELLS ( autoimmune diseases may be an exception) Our own cells display what our immune system recognizes and leaves alone ...our cancer cells have practically every cell characteristics as normal cells ....So the immune system may not recognize these cells as a threat such as a bacteria is a foreign type entity that triggers a vigorous immune response ...

Now to an extent our immune system does at times recognize abnormal cells...certain cells may find abnormal cells and release TNF ( tumor necrosis factor ) and cause the cancer cell to be destroyed...So our immune system does play a helpful role but cancers by their nature tend to be similar to out own body tissues and so May evade destruction...

Cancer cells tend to divide too rapidly and lack growth inhibition. In this way the over -growing rapid dividing cancer cells form a cluster ..then a mass or tumor of abnormal cells ...

Other mutations of the cancer population of cells may take place to make them more unruly...cells may not be as bound locally as normal cells...these abnormal cells may expand to lymphatic pathways or into blood vessels...they may travel from a local point to spots nearby ...being pushed downstream with a lymphatic channel or blood vessel...It may lodge at a separate spot and continue to divide ...thus it metastasized ...

Some cancers release hormones that promote new blood flow into these active tumor areas...

It is not that immune cells or other cells are doing other than acting normally for their normal function....

Normal function with a cancer may be altered by the cancer cells signals ...they may in some cases alter the behavior of other cells near them....

So a cancer is from a mutated cell that has been altered and very often a series of mutations may have taken place ...

Sometimes a cancer treatment may kill a high percentage of the tumor but some cancers mutate further and via,more mutations at times may evade chemotherapy and have another outbreak of growth down the road ( you may look at that as being similar in nature as to bacterial resistance to an antibiotic )

I hope that this discussion is helpful for you. Let me know if you have further questions or discussion.I will be happy to get back with you.If my answers have been helpful and to your satisfaction then please remember to leave positive feedback.Thank You and Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

PS if you prefer a different opinion the I will be happy to opt out as well...just let me know ....

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do have some “expertise” having had two spontaneous remissions (the first from stage 4 ovarian cancer with metastasis to the uterus, cervix, bowel and both lungs –doctors gave me 6 months to a year to live –that was back in 1993), then the third time I throw caution to the wind and decided to use the occasion to investigate using an unconventional means.. Vipassana or insight meditation. What I discovered helped me overcome that and the next 5 incidents early and deliberately and I have learnt how to prevent getting cancer anymore.I found that cancer is stem-cell mediated immunity in conjunction with immune system response, with or without associated inflammation. It is an erroneous defence just as autoimmune responses are erroneous.I agree with you that the immune system recognizes our own cells but it also doesn’t attack other life forms eg bacteria IF they do not attack and infect cells or cause damage to cells or body structures. There are trillions of bacteria . that do no harm and which live on or in the body and are never attacked by the immune system.I have seen an immune response in killing cancer cells but not as a matter of course. I don’t believe the story that we normally get cancer cells and the immune system normally kills them. However in deliberately effecting cancer remission I saw the cancer mass revert back to fully functional, fully specialized cells of the tissues or organs in which they arise, being of course stem cells AND the excess is removed by apoptosis with the help of the immune system. And there are cancer stem cells in my body, which are memory cells. I saw them reused in the repeated cancer episodes. They do not by themselves cause cancer or grow out of control or even multiply at all.I also haven’t seen that cancer is cells out of control. They sometimes grow slowly and sometimes grow fast and there are reasons for this.Now we get to my question…
You say “these abnormal cells may expand to lymphatic pathways or into blood vessels...they may travel from a local point to spots nearby ...being pushed downstream with a lymphatic channel or blood vessel...It may lodge at a separate spot and continue to divide ...thus it metastasized ...”Cells need to get through epithelium tissues and other tissues, through the walls of blood and lymphatic vessels and other epithelium tissues etc in the destination site which is typically another organ. They can’t do that on their own, they need help, they need for the tissues to become permeable. I saw this happen but I am not good enough to observe insightfully at the sub-cellular level very well, I can see some. So while I saw expanses and cells getting through I could not see what caused the expanses. There were many different types of cells around because they looked different. I could identify some of the cells cancer cells because often they divided atypically. Thus I am asking if not the immune system, then by what other means can tissues become permeable as to allow other cells to exit and enter? As there were other cells around both at the original site and at the destination sites, I am assuming that these are immune cells, which have released histamine or whatever else and that is why the area where they needed to get through became permeable. I don’t think the cancer stem cells themselves released anything to make this happen but I could be wrong. Maybe they did but there were "accompanying cells", ie some other cells.
As for angiogenesis, I do agree that cancer cells are responsible for generating a blood supply once they get to a certain size but remember that cancer cells are stem cells. There was one paper I was reading where the researchers had removed the cancer stem cells from their culture and they found that some of the remaining cancer cells reverted into cancer stem cells. I saw that the cells change their genetic expression in ways that allow them to become dormant and dense, which is consistent with the purpose that I perceived and that is that they form a “protective barrier”. It is an erroneous response, just like autoimmunity is an erroneous response. These stem cells create the stroma so the stromal cells do not act as the normal stromal cells that we usually see in tissues. For instance if skin is very badly damaged the repair job is not good enough to take up all of the damaged area and the skin in the damaged area may be thin. In cancer I strongly suspect that the stroma is created from stem cells or more specifically cancer stem cells. The stromal cells are not “recruited” and I say this because they behave differently to ordinary stromal cells. Surely if they were recruited then they would be able to repair badly damaged tissues so that the skin is not thin.Thanks for your effort and I will give you credit if more than one doctor can get paid for a particular question, but as you still have not answered my question, can an oncologist also give some opinion as well please?
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

OK I will opt out as there are a couple of oncologists that do work on this site. When I opt out it will open the questions to others. Hold off on further response until a specialist picks up your question.. If it should go too long without a response to your satisfaction then you might try to repost your question...

Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is no hurry thanks.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr Bray, looks like you can't find someone to answer this question. So can I as a consolation question?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can this question please be closed so I can get a refund as there is no answer.