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Toward Cultural Oncology: The Evolutionary Information Dynamics of Cancer

By Rodrick Wallace, Deborah Wallace and Robert G. Wallace


'Racial' disparities among cancers, particularly of the breast and prostate, are something of a mystery. For the US, in the face of slavery and its sequelae, centuries of interbreeding have greatly leavened genetic differences between 'Blacks' and 'whites', but marked contrasts in disease prevalence and progression persist. 'Adjustment' for socioeconomic status and lifestyle, while statistically accounting for much of the variance in breast cancer, only begs the question of ultimate causality. Here we propose a more basic biological explanation that extends the theory of immune cognition to include elaborate tumor control mechanisms constituting the principal selection pressure acting on pathologically mutating cell clones. The interplay between them occurs in the context of an embedding, highly structured, system of culturally specific psychosocial stress which we find is able to literally write an image of itself onto disease progression. The dynamics are analogous to punctuated equilibrium in simple evolutionary proces

Topics: Theoretical Biology
Year: 2003
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