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Introduction to Cancer

Introduction to Cancer - Introduction to Cancer A cancer...

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Introduction to Cancer A cancer cell is essentially a cell that grows out of control. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells ignore signals to stop dividing, to specialize, or to die and be shed. Growing in an uncontrollable manner and unable to recognize its own natural boundary, the specific cells may spread to areas of the body where they do not belong. In a cancer cell, several genes change, or mutate, and the cell becomes defective. There are two general types of gene mutations. One type, dominant mutation, is caused by an abnormality in one gene in a pair. An example is a mutated gene that produces a defective protein that causes the growth-factor receptor on a cell's surface to be constantly "on" when, in fact, no growth factor is present. The result is that the cell receives a constant message to divide. This dominant "gain of function gene" is often called an oncogene (onco meaning cancer). The second general type of mutation, recessive mutation, is characterized by both genes in the pair being damaged. For example, a normal gene called p53 produces a
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