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Case study #3
Kevin worked for 10 years at a uranium mine, excavating uranium for a nearby nuclear power plant. Now, 25 years later, he has small cell lung cancer. Kevin is anorexic and has lost a considerable amount of weight. His muscles are wasting, and he is weak. He tries to move around the house throughout the day but tires easily. It has been difficult for him to access care, and the treatment for his cancer is just starting.
- With the ongoing exposure to the ionizing radiation, DNA damage occurred. Outline the three stages of carcinogenesis that occurred after his exposure to radiation.
- Kevin is normally a fit and active man, and his wife often commented on how much food he used to eat after a day at mine. Why would there be muscle wasting and weight loss now? Explain your answer using your knowledge of the metabolic changes seen with cancer.
- In some cancer patients, muscle weakness may result from the production of onconeural antigens. Describe the effects of these antigens. What form would this process likely take in Kevin’s situation?