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Biology for Kids

Disease: Cancer

What is cancer?

Cancer is any disease caused by uncontrolled cell growth. Abnormal cells begin to divide and make tumors. They can spread throughout the body and slowly destroy good cells and tissues making the person sick.

There are many different diseases that are called cancers. Some of these diseases are very treatable while others are more dangerous and can be fatal. Around 40% of all people will be diagnosed with cancer some time during their lives.

Cancer Starts in the Cell

Cancer starts when the genes in a cell that regulate cell growth are somehow altered or mutated. It actually takes a number of mutations before a cell becomes cancerous. Typically, the cells are smart enough to get rid of mutations. They have complex ways of safeguarding against mutations and will kill off bad cells. However, if the right series of mutations occur, the cells will begin to grow uncontrollably.

Types of Cancer

Cancer is really a term used to describe a number of different diseases. There are more than 200 different types of cancer. Typically, cancers are named after the place in the body where the cancer first began. For example, lung cancer is cancer that started in the lungs. There are then different types of lung cancers with long scientific names such as "well differentiated squamous cell carcinoma of the lung" and "small cell carcinoma of the lung."

Common Forms of Cancer
Typical Symptoms

There are so many different types of cancer, that there are many different symptoms. However, the American Cancer Society gives seven common symptoms that can be warnings of cancer. Treatments

Many forms of cancer can be treated and even cured. Common treatments include the following: Many cancers require a combination of the above treatments.

Can you help prevent cancer?

The Mayo Clinic lists seven ways that you can reduce your risk of getting cancer.
Activities

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*** This page is not to be used as medical advice in any way. Please immediately consult your doctor if you have medical concerns.

More Biology Subjects

Cell
The Cell
Cell Cycle and Division
Nucleus
Ribosomes
Mitochondria
Chloroplasts
Proteins
Enzymes

The Human Body
Human Body
Brain
Nervous System
Digestive System
Sight and the Eye
Hearing and the Ear
Smelling and Tasting
Skin
Muscles
Breathing
Blood and Heart
Bones
List of Human Bones
Immune System
Organs

Nutrition
Nutrition
Vitamins and Minerals
Carbohydrates
Lipids
Enzymes

Genetics
Genetics
Chromosomes
DNA
Mendel and Heredity
Hereditary Patterns
Proteins and Amino Acids

Plants
Photosynthesis
Plant Structure
Plant Defenses
Flowering Plants
Non-Flowering Plants
Trees
Living Organisms
Scientific Classification
Animals
Bacteria
Protists
Fungi
Viruses

Disease
Infectious Disease
Medicine and Pharmaceutical Drugs
Epidemics and Pandemics
Historical Epidemics and Pandemics
Immune System
Cancer
Concussions
Diabetes
Influenza


Science >> Biology for Kids





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