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Cancer 101 - What Is Cancer?

How do normal cells become cancer?

There are many processes that control a cell’s growth and division, each of which can go wrong. As a general rule-of-thumb, several of these control mechanisms need to be damaged before a cell becomes cancerous.

Cancer arises from a loss of normal growth control.

In normal tissues, the rates of new cell growth and old cell death are kept in balance.

In cancer, this balance is disrupted.

This disruption can result from uncontrolled cell growth or loss of a cell's ability to undergo cell suicide by a process called "apoptosis."

Apoptosis, or "cell suicide," is the mechanism by which old or damaged cells normally self-destruct.

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