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Cell divison and cancer

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Cell divison and cancer

Cells and cancer

Cancer is a disease that originates in our own cells. A change in the DNA causes a special gene called an oncogene to be switched on. This leads to uncontrollable cell reproduction by mitosis. This is a cancer.

Cancer cells are able to replicate by overcoming the normal controls of cell division. They may form a lump or tumour which can cause damage to surrounding tissues and organs. Cancer cells may spread from the original (primary) tumour to form new (secondary) tumours throughout the body. When this happens the tumour is said to have metastasized.

This resource looks at how cancer cells develop, the causes of cancer and how treatments are used to tackle cancer.

A newborn baby

This new born baby has around a billion cells. She will grow and develop as new cells are formed by the process of mitosis (cell division). Sometimes mitosis can go wrong and cause cancer cells to develop.

This new born baby has around a billion cells. She will grow and develop as new cells are formed by the process of mitosis (cell division). Sometimes mitosis can go wrong and cause cancer cells to develop.