I've read quite a bit about Deadpool, up to the point I know he has cancer, and that he has a healing factor. I don't quite get why one doesn't cancel the other out. I know that in Deadpool's case he had the cancer first, but is that the important part?

Likewise, I assume Wolverine has never and could never contact cancer, due to his healing factor which is much stronger than Deadpools.

Is there a discrepancy here? Should a healing factor cure Wade's cancer? Or is he a special case for some reason? For some reason I can't seem to get my brain 'round this.

Deadpool clutching his head, and shouting "You have failed me, brain!"

  • TL;DR: his cancer has a healing factor.
    – Marvel Boy
    May 25, 2016 at 16:47

5 Answers 5


Cancer isn't a disease or externally-caused problem like a broken bone: It's unregulated growth of the body's own cells. No matter how good you are at healing yourself, you'd be attacking your own body to kill off the cancer cells.

If anything, I'd expect a healing factor to cause more cancer.

  • 2
    Despite being a biochemist, cancer is unbelievably uninteresting to me, but despite this, from what I recall many of the tumor suppressor genes they initiate apoptosis on cells which may not necessarily turn cancerous. If you don't have these anti-oncogenes, you may get some (imperceptible, but everything's amplified in the comic-book world) increase in vigor.
    – Nick T
    Mar 12, 2012 at 1:32
  • 5
    We can even think of the healing factor itself as a form of cancer, or an abnormal and rapid replication of cells. Deadpool's healing factor might be a little more out of control than Wolverine's.
    – HNL
    Mar 12, 2012 at 7:38
  • does that mean Wolverine is eventually going to get arthritis?
    – KutuluMike
    Dec 11, 2013 at 17:36
  • 1
    @MichaelEdenfield Some other question/answer on here has established that Wolverine is aging, just extremely slowly. So yep!
    – Izkata
    Dec 11, 2013 at 18:42

Short answer, Deadpool is a special case. His healing factor works well because the cancer is a degenerative one; it removes the cells of his body at roughly the same rate that his healing factor replaces them. The Skrulls tried to use his healing in Secret Invasion. They failed miserably because the healing is overpowered, spending much of its energy in continuously counteracting Deadpool's cancer. Without the cancer to keep it in check, it effectively acts as a rapid cancer of its own, overrunning the body.


Yes, deadpool did have cancer before he received his healing factor. However, once it kicked in it accelerated his cancer throughout his body.


Actually, Deadpool got cancer before getting the healing factor. The healing factor of his was artificially mutated into him on purpose to fight his cancer. And I thought it did.


Deadpool's healing factor and his cancer work against each other. Like a stalemate. Neither is strong enough to overcome the other. The healing factor keeps Deadpool alive and symptom free aside from the face issue.

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