Sharks Do Get Cancer: Tumor Found in Great White
Scientists have known for more than 150 years that sharks get cancer. And yet the belief persists that the animals don’t suffer from the disease.
That misconception is promoted in part by those who sell shark cartilage, who claim that the substance will help cure cancer, said David Shiffman, a shark researcher and doctoral student at the University of Miami. But no studies have shown that shark cartilage is an effective treatment, and the demand for the material has helped decimate shark populations, researchers say: Humans kill about 100 million sharks per year, according to a March 2013 study (although many factors contribute to the killing of sharks, including demand for shark-fin soup).
Recently, researchers in Australia noticed a large tumor protruding from the mouth of a great white shark, as well as another mass on the head of a bronze whaler shark. The great white’s tumor measured 1 foot (30 centimeters) long and 1 foot wide, according to a study describing the tumors published online in November in the Journal of Fish Diseases.
"This was a very unusual sight as we have never before seen a [great] white shark with tumors," said Rachel Robbins, a study co-author and shark biologist at the Fox Shark Research Foundation, near Adelaide, in southern Australia. [Image Gallery: Great White Sharks]
In total, scientists have now documented tumors in at least 23 species of sharks, including the two in the new study, Robbins said. “The main take-home message from the study is that it adds to the growing evidence of tumor formation in sharks, contrary to popular belief that sharks do not suffer from such anomalies,” Robbins told LiveScience.
"Sharks get cancer," said Shiffman, who wasn’t involved in the study. "Even if they didn’t get cancer, eating shark products won’t cure cancer any more than me eating Michael Jordan would make me better at basketball."
The belief that shark cartilage can treat cancer diverts patients from effective treatments, according to a 2004 review in the journal Cancer Research. The demand for cartilage also fuels widespread fishing for sharks. One in six known species of sharks, rays and skates are considered threatened with extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an environmental group, Shiffman said.
It’s unknown what caused the tumors in the great white or bronzer shark. However, reports of cancerous tumors in marine animals, especially mammals, have steadily increased over the past 20 years, raising concerns that industrial pollutants or human activities may trigger the cancers, according to the study. Beluga whales have been recorded to suffer from cancer, and in areas near aluminum smelting plants, cancer is the second leading killer of the whales, the study noted. (source)
I found this really interesting, hopefully you guys will too!
> remembering: NAMU
in june, 1965, a 22ft long male orca was found in a salmon net near namu, british columbia. the whale was sold to ted griffin for $8000, and was named namu.
it was discovered through preserved recordings of his calls that namu was from the northern resident c1 pod. namu’s presumed mother, kwatna c5 died in 1995, however his presumed sister koeye c10 is still alive and is now the matriarch of the c10 matriline.
namu was kept in a small floating pen in seattle for the duration of his time in captivity. for a brief time he was kept with the famous shamu, however she was eventually sold to seaworld in san diego. namu died after one year.
namu’s owner - ted griffin - went on to partner with don goldsberry to ‘collect’ new whales from washington state and eventually iceland to populate the seaworld parks.
Does anyone remember when I posted the Instagram photo of Shay Mitchell from Pretty Little Liars riding the Killer Whale pool toy? She stated that she always wanted to be a Killer Whale trainer.
The post can be found here.
Well I posted it on Tumblr to advertise for Instagram users to politely tell Shay the harmful secrets of captivity and to watch the documentary Blackfish. Look what she posted today!
Thank you so much Shay for listening to us! <3
a female Orca swims by the camera and she has much to say!
By Renee DeMartin