The GuardianThe Guardian

Why don’t whales get cancer? Cracking one of medicine’s greatest mysteries

By Robin McKie

08 Apr 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Understanding why some animals are more susceptible to diseases, such as cancer, can lead to better screening methods for humans, reports The Guardian.

Scientists are homing in on one of medicine’s most baffling mysteries: why some species avoid getting cancers while others are plagued by tumours that shorten their lives.

Whales tend to have low rates of cancer but it is the leading cause of death for dogs and cats. Foxes and leopards are susceptible while sheep and antelopes are not. Bats are also relatively well protected against cancer but not mice or rats. In humans, cancer is a leading cause of death that kills around 10 million people a year.

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