In cancer cells, mutated genes corrupt the normal physiology of growth and ultimately set loose malignant proliferation. This characteristic sits at the heart of all forms of cancer: Unlike normal cells, cancer cells have forgotten how to stop dividing (or occasionally, have forgotten how to die).
Cancer is a monster, but in its fierce evolutionary tendencies, it is grasping, as with anything else in nature, for a way to be in the world. Life on earth has invaded the air, the deep sea, the bedrock. Over eons, it has suffered meteor storms, volcanic dystopias, shifting continents and deprivations beyond counting, and yet it always comes back stronger. With cancer, biology’s fierce insistence — its resilience, its ceaseless creativity, its sheer generative capacity — is the enemy. With cancer, the opponent is life.