Heart Cancer?

Why don’t we ever hear of the heart getting cancer?It happens in almost every organ,so why not the heart?‘Heart disease’ only seems to be connected to cholesterol and arteriosclerosis and all that stuff.Why not cancer too?

It does occur in the heart, but it’s fairly rare. The condition is called a rhabdomyosarcoma of the heart if the cancer starts there. Sometimes, cancers that have started elsewhere spread to the heart secondarily. This is more likely to occur with breast cancer and malignant melanoma than with other tumours, but is still rare.

From what I understand, cancer tends to occur more frequently in organs that have a high cellular turnover rate. Organs like the heart don’t produce very many new cells, so cancer is rare.

According to Cecil, cancer in any kind of muscle tissue is pretty rare, though it does happen. No one knows for sure why it’s so uncommon, but the low rate of cell turnover, as Jet Jaguar mentioned, seems to be a reasonable explanation.


However, IIRC, brain tissue does not regenerate, yet we hear of brain tumors far more often than heart cancer…

Zev Steinhardt

Yes, but the cancerous brain cells originate from the non-neuron cells i.e. the glial cells.

Ah. I did not know that. Thank you KarlGauss.

Zev Steinhardt

Thanks guys!That helped a lot to clear up my question.I guess I missed it in the archives.

I realize that this sort-of contradicts what’s been said above, but . . .

When I was in grad school, I took a class in medical imaging technology. In that class, I was shown images of peoples’ hearts. The instructor pointed out tumors on some of the hearts, and claimed that such tumors were pretty common, but that they didn’t have much in the way of negative effects.

Eric Carr, drummer for KISS died of heart cancer. I can’t think of anyone else I’ve heard of ever having it.