Is cancer due to a defect in the immune system?

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    $\begingroup$ No, it isn't. Although cancers have to escape the immune system, they usually don't affect it, except for B cell lymphoma, but this doesn't make it an immune system disorder. Disorders of the immune system are diseases like SLE. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Feb 27 '14 at 14:41
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    $\begingroup$ Please try and do some research before posting. At least explain why you think that cancer would be an immune disorder. As it stands, your question is like asking whether McDonald's makes cars. Unless you give some reason why you think it might be a car maker, the question makes very little sense. $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Feb 27 '14 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is a wild stab in the dark with no research or any indication of why the OP might believe this to be the case. $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Feb 27 '14 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is a fair enough question, a suppressed immune system can result in higher susceptibility to cancer. The immune system kills mutated cells as well as foreign pathogens. There is a lot of high level research into the development of cancer and its link to the immune system. $\endgroup$
    – Spinorial
    Jun 23 '14 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @Spinorial one role of the immune system to prevent cancer. If it cannot fulfill this task, then it is the main cause of cancer, and not the mutations of cancer cells. Afaik. there are immune cells which actively defend cancer cells, so I think cancer can be called as immune disorder. $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Dec 1 '14 at 22:02

Cancer is uncontrolled division of abnormal cells. This is caused by mutations in a cell which causes a cell to divide more frequently and the lack of control by intracellular AND extracellular mechanisms. The extracellular mechanisms include growth inhibition by hormones, local factors, contact and also the immune system.

These cancerous cells could be immune system cells and then, in that respect, the cancer could be considered an immune system disorder. Or the cells could be of different origin, but due to the lack of a functioning immune system (particularly NK cells), the cells may divide uncontrollably whereas otherwise they would've been tagged for immune or self destruction. Or a cancer may be caused by a virus; in this situation an immunocompromised patient is more susceptible to a cancer caused by this oncogenic virus. In these cases the risk of cancer is increased due to a compromised immune system. So cancer risk may be increased in these circumstances but cancer still is not an immune disorder.


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