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    I know the mechanism by which cancer originates and propagates, but how does one actually die from cancer? What does the tumour do to you?

    Yahoo answers C%P:

    Your question is quite complex. The simple answers are not usually very helpful. Usually, the answer comes in two parts… the primary cause of death and the secondary cause of death. Some examples are:
    The immune system is no longer effectively polyclonal, the platelet count drops to nothing and you bleed out spontaneously, you have no red cells and you have a heart attack - but solid tumors kill in very mechanical ways (incidentally, untreated leukemias will kill by mechanics also; as the blood is completely replaced by white cells, it becomes ridiculously viscous and your arteries become effectively clogged with pus).
    Ovarian cancer kills you by obstructing your bowel, as does colon cancer and most other cancers of the GI tract. Lung cancers usually kill by eroding into an artery or obstructing a bronchus. Breast cancers kill by metastases in the brain causing increased intracranial pressure. Anaplastic thyroid cancer kills by strangling you slowly and relentlessly

    More than 40 percent of cancer patients die from malnutrition, not the cancer itself. cancer patients often eat less food than they did before their illness began. One reason is that tumors induce a hypermetabolic state and secrete a substance called cachectin that suppresses appetite. Chemo and radiation therapy can also cause anorexia and alone are sufficient biological stressors to induce malnutrition. Because cancer patients need more calories than healthy people, they eventually waste away, a condition called cachexia. Weight loss increases the mortality rate for most types of cancer, while also lowering the positive response to chemotherapy.
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