Injuries can occur from anywhere; these can range from minor bruises to large fractures and can cause internal and external damage to one’s organs. As we visualize these injuries, have you thought about how they can also bring about cancer or how cancer may cause injuries to a person? Recent studies show a correlation between injuries and cancer, with accounts of injuries happening during cancer therapy. Through this article, we hope our readers will understand the immense burden of having the disease and undergoing treatment.
Cancer And Injuries
Injuries involve damage to tissue in our bodies, which can result from a variety of sources such as trauma, burns, and even electrical shock. They may also have correlations with cancer as they affect our tissues down to the cellular level.
Scientists have been studying this correlation because both cause a change in the cell environment; whereas injuries damage external cells, cancer damages the cells internally. Cancer alters the blueprint of the cell, called DNA. Both internal and external damage to the cell environment may have similarities that relate to one another.
As an example, there appear to be similarities between acute brain injuries and cancer environments, leading researchers to look into incorporating nanomedicine into acute brain injury research. They are studying this field by leveraging cancer nanomedicine research.
Specifically, a 2021 research project in molecular pharmacy is looking to gain insights using cancer research as a blueprint. They postulate that there is a similar physiology between cancer and acute brain injuries. These similarities include an altered microenvironment, dysregulated vasculature, and changes in the immune system. They plan to use analogous mechanisms such as passive accumulation, specific immune interactions, bioresponsive designs, and active targeting of disease-associated signals.
Injuries Correlated With Cancer
Bladder cancer is a rare form of cancer. It can cause pain when urinating and the urine may contain blood. If the patient also happens to have a spinal cord injury, it can be lethal.
Spinal cord injury has long been a focus of cancer research. Since the 1960s, there have been studies regarding the association between spinal cord injuries and bladder cancer. Some of these studies reported an alarmingly high rate of correlation.
To test these correlations in a larger population, we looked into the epidemiology of bladder cancer. Researchers performed this in a 2013 cohort study of multiple literature sources. They saw a 0.1% to 10% incidence rate of bladder cancer patients with spinal cord injuries.
One of the reasons doctors suspect this correlation is the use of indwelling catheters. Patients with spinal cord injuries have utilized these catheters for a long time. That is until we discovered that these lead to a greater risk of urinary tract infection. Ultimately, this infection increases the risk of bladder cancer.
Another injury that correlates with cancer is those from burning. There are studies suggesting that burn injuries are a risk factor for skin cancer. Although there is no clear causality between the two. In addition, the exact mechanism at play is still unknown.
This correlation is present in a 2008 investigative report. In the report, researchers examined a population-based cohort study on burn injuries and skin cancer. They used a Swedish registry of burn injuries and cancer patients totaling 37, 095 individuals.
Results showed a slight increase in skin cancer risk for those who’ve had burn injuries. The time it took for symptoms of skin cancer to show was 20-30 years. Additionally, most of the tumors were squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma.
Cancer Resulting in Injuries
The elderly are susceptible to debilitating diseases that worsen one’s quality of life. Additionally, old age is a well-known risk factor for cancer. Because of these accumulating conditions, the elderly are vulnerable to injuries.
Specifically, elderly cancer patients can be more at risk for fall-related injuries. A retrospective cohort study published in 2013 records this vulnerability. The researchers studied 65,311 elderly patients with breast, colon, lung, or prostate cancer. They kept track of those who’d had a traumatic fracture, dislocation, or head injury 12 months after their first chemotherapy.
The following are the results of the study:
- Patients who had non-neurotoxic chemotherapy had a fall-related injury rate of 5.19 per 1000 person-months
- Patients who received singlet neurotoxic chemotherapy had a fall-related injury rate of 7.76 per 1000 person-months
- Patients who received doublet neurotoxic chemotherapy had a fall-related injury rate of 9.15 per 1000 person-months
These results show how the amount of neurotoxic chemotherapy correlates with the injury rate in elderly patients. This should tell us to never leave our elderly relatives with cancer near elevated structures such as stairs.
A cancer diagnosis may also heavily burden one’s mental capacity. Ultimately, there can be cases of suicide during the first year of their initial diagnosis. Less severely, it can lead to externally caused injuries. These injuries may be due to the physical, mental, financial, and social impairment caused by the disease and its treatment.
Currently, there are ongoing nationwide studies regarding this issue. Researchers are attempting to correlate different factors such as sex, age at diagnosis, primary tumor site, and residence. Hopefully, these studies may help in reducing the rates of mortality and injuries caused by cancer.
Injuries During Cancer Treatment
Iatrogenic injuries are damages sustained by a patient during their surgery. These injuries are part of the reason why surgeries may fail. This is especially tricky in areas of the body where different organs are close to one another.
Gynecologic cancer treatment may involve surgery to remove the tumors. The problem lies in the site of the tumor. It is a region of delicate organs such as the ones in the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, and nerves.
Because of this, surgeries of this kind require specially-trained surgeons. We can expect them to know about general surgery, oncology, urology, colorectal, and vascular surgery. Intraoperative injuries in gynecological surgery can include damage to the bladder, ureter, urethra, intestines, stomach, and nerves.