Cancer question have they ever determined this in research?

Have research scientists ever done test on people with different types of cancer to see if there is any common tread that applies to all the patients.
It seems to obvious that they haven’'t done it but I was just thinking of it today and have always wondered.
We were talking about a friend of mine who’s wife has been diagnosed with cancer and I was so sad for him and her.
And we both agreed that it can strike anyone at anytime and nobody seems to be immuned.
And it can strike all kinds, young, old, healthy, weak.

Any imput out there?

Yes, this has been done, and what has been found is that the only thing common is that they all are alive when the cancer starts. Lots of money is still spent on finding a single common thread to all forms of cancer.

IIRC there is a single gene, p54, that is found to be mutated in about half of all cancers. It is one of the genes responsible for cell death in the advent of irreparable DNA damage. If this gene gets knocked out, the cell can’t suicide, and thusly accumulates more errors, eventually becomming cancerous.

This is the closest to what you are looking for. There are as many causes of cancer as there are types of cancer.

I’m not sure what the OP means when he asks about a “common thread” of people that have cancer. You mean genetically? It is a well established fact that there are many possible mutations that can lead to cancer, although some are more common than others…there are known mutations that predispose some women to breast cancer, for instance. But it is also known that one can get breast cancer even if you don’t have that particular mutation.

If you mean common environmental causes like smoking, exposure to sunlight, etc, well that is a hugely complex question. People that have never smoked get lung cancer, lots of people who do smoke never get cancer, etc. I guess the simpler answer is yes they have looked, and no they haven’t found anything yet, but trying to document any person’s lifetime exposure to all potential carcinogens is essentially impossible. Trying to do it with a group of people would be more so. Trying to find a commonality in this necessarily flawed data, well, you get the idea.
I worked in cancer research earlier in my career. There are many extremely bright and motivated people working on this, with excellent resources behind them, but trust me, it is not a simple problem to solve. The genetic flaws that can lead to cancer are a necessary part of our makeup. Eliminating cancer entirely from human experience may well prove impossible. JMHO.

So it has been documented that cancer is genetic? And that the flaws are already in the genes?

Over 99 percent of Americans who develop cancer have tried Catsup at least once in their life.

Immortality is essentially the definition of a cancer cell so all will have a mutated killer gene, either p54 or another one. What causes the mutation is the problem.

To the extent that a cell’s becoming cancerous is a result of the expression of the cell’s own (in this case, mutated) DNA, yes, cancer is genetic. There is of course an environmental component as well, though. All things being equal people that are exposed to many carcinogens are going to be at greater risk than those who aren’t.

As far as the “flaws are already in the genes” what I was trying to say (badly) was that the genes that make a cell cancerous are necessary early in our development. As embryos, our cells need to divide many times in a relatively undifferentiated state, and they need to be able to move around to different parts of the body. After we are past a certain stage of development our cells are supposed to behave “normally” for ever after: stop dividing, differentiate into specialized types, and stay where they belong in the body (lung cells stay in the lungs, liver cells in the liver, etc).

These embryonic genes are supposed to be turned off forever, but they can’t be eliminated from the body. The information is still there and if the wrong chain of events takes place (genetic predisposition, environmental triggers) your non-dividing, differentiated, stay-at-home "adult " cells can become undifferentiated metastastizing embryonic cells again.

Like I said, these properties are critical at one stage of our existence, even though they can kill us later. Evolution doesn’t care, because enough human beings reproduce before cancer kills them that it hasn’ been selected against.

I hope this is clearer. It really isn’t coming out as lucidly as I’d hoped.