IntroductionCancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells (mitosis). It ultimately kills the organism.One out of three Americans will develop cancer. One out of four males and one out of three females will die of cancer.Fossil evidence indicates that it has been killing plants and animals for millions of years.Characteristics of CancerExhibit Uncontrolled Growth (Immortality)Most cells have a fixed number of divisions (approximately 50) before they die. Cancer cells do not have a limit.Abnormal DNA (Mutations)The nucleiof cancer cells are enlarged.Some cancers have chromosomal mutations, either extra or missing chromosomes or parts of chromosomes.Cancer cells frequently have extra copies of certain genes, a phenomenon called gene amplification.Cancer is also associated with gene mutations.ApoptosisCells with damaged DNA that cannot be repaired normally undergo apoptosis, a process in which the cell kills itself. Tumor cells have high levels of a protein (survivin) that inhibits apoptosis.
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