DNA breaks apart

July 22, 2006

At some point, the doctors explain what the radiation and chemo are doing. It’s a one-two-three punch combo: chemo hit one week, radiation for five weeks (or so), chemo hit week six. The wikipedia entry on cisplatin talks about what cisplatin does; what I’m told is that all of this treatment effects the DNA of the cancer cells, such they aren’t able to divide.

It’s amazing — everything is targeted at the DNA in the cancer’s nucleus. The cells get one more round of mitosis, but the inherited DNA is so damaged the cells can’t divide anymore. The Chemo does this too, but throughout the body (the radiation is highly targeted). It also makes the cancer cells more sensitive to the radiation that follows.

So that’s what I visualize — the DNA double-helix of the cancer cells and all those ATCG bonds breaking apart. Something cool to think of during the radiation blasts (which doesn’t hurt at all, and the whole radiation process is surprizingly interesting).


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