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How Is Cancer Like a Dandelion?

You may be thinking, “How does a dandelion relate to cancer?”

We know it probably sounds a little strange, but we can explain. For starters, both dandelions and cancer grow unexpectedly and are difficult to get rid of. They grow deep roots, spread easily, and can return the following year. As we move forward, think of the yard as your whole body and each garden or flowerbed as a very specific part of your body (like a breast, lung, or prostate).

When tending your garden, sometimes you find plants that aren’t supposed to be there.


Like dandelions, you did not plant these—they just appeared. Abnormal(AB-NOR-MOL) — Something that is not supposed to happen growths aren’t always bad. Some are just unwanted. Each type of weed has a different effect on the garden.

The same thing can happen in your body. When abnormal growths appear in the body, they are called tumors. There are three different types of abnormal growths: malignant, premalignant, and benign. Like the garden, each type of tumor(TOO-MER) — Abnormal growth in the body affects the body differently.

The Three Types of Cancer & Their Analogies: The Dandelion, The Tulip Bulb, and The Wildflower

Cancer & The Dandelion

The first type of tumor is malignant, which means it is an invasive(IN-VAY-ZIV) — Something that penetrates or enters cancer. Malignant(MA-LIG-NENT) — A cancer or abnormal tumor that grows uncontrollably and may spread to other parts of the body cancer is like a dandelion that has a very extensive(EX-STEN-ZIV) — Widespread root system. The root system is deep and branches out, making it difficult for gardeners to remove permanently. These types of weeds also have seeds, which may spread easily within the same flowerbed or beyond to other parts of the yard.

Cancer & The Tulip Bulb

If the tumor is not malignant, but could eventually grow into a cancer, it is called premalignant. A premalignant(PRE-MA-LIG-NENT) — A growth that will worsen and grow into a cancer, becoming malignant if not removed tumor is a form of noninvasive(NON-IN-VAY-ZIV) — Something that does not penetrate or enter cancer. Since a premalignant tumor is not yet cancerous, we are going to compare it to a tulip bulb rather than a dandelion. Premalignant tumors are like tulip bulbs that are in the ground just waiting to grow. Initially, the bulb lacks an extensive root system, and it does not have seeds. Since the bulb lacks seeds, it is nearly impossible for it to spread to other parts of the garden. The tulip bulb usually just stays in one place.

tulipbulb progression

The problem begins if the tulip bulb is left in the ground too long.

The bulb will develop roots, and a tulip will proceed to grow above ground. This means that the bulb will now have roots and seeds that can spread to other areas of your garden. Some tumors in the body act this way, and if they are not removed soon enough, they can develop into a cancer.

Cancer & The Wildflower

The third type of abnormal growth is known as benign. A benign(BE-NINE) — A growth in the body that is neither invasive nor cancerous and has a very low risk of spreading tumor is much like a wildflower. They are both usually easy to remove. However, it is not crucial to remove most of them because they are not necessarily harmful to your garden.

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