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Immunosuppressant Drugs

Explain why Immunosuppressant Drugs may lead to a higher than normal risk of developing cancer?
this is from my homework on artificial hearts. i understand the drugs are taken to stop the body rejecting it however it don't see the link to cancer

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Rebecca M. | Your success is my passionYour success is my passion
4.8 4.8 (6 lesson ratings) (6)
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The immune system works in part by recognizing what is "self" and what is "not self". It also functions to destroy mutated and unhealthy cells that may be "self" but pose a threat to survival.
 
Cancer is "self" that has mutated and started to multiply.
 
An artificial heart is "not self". Immunosupressant drugs make the immune system less effective at doing its job. They suppress the immune system. That means the immune system is weakened and will not attack the artificial heart (which is "not self") but it ALSO won't attack mutated cancerous/pre-cancerous cells.
 
Let me know if this is still confusing, I am happy to help!
 
Yours in Education,
Rebecca Millhouse
Naina B. | Naina, a versatile tutorNaina, a versatile tutor
4.8 4.8 (155 lesson ratings) (155)
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These findings ( increased cancer risk due to exposure to immunosuppressant drugs)  have been consistently reported by IARC ( International Agency for Research on Cancer) starting in early 1970s through 1990s and all the way to 2012!
There are many complicated metabolic pathways that are either desensitized or activated and therefore, they increase the cancer risk with advancing age. You may find additional information at IARC website. 
 
Hope this helps.