Cancer-causing genetic changes can also be acquired during one’s lifetime, as the result of errors that occur as cells divide or from exposure to carcinogenic substances that damage DNA, such as certain chemicals in tobacco smoke, and radiation, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun.
How is cancer passed down genetically?
Some people are born with a gene mutation that they inherited from their mother or father. This damaged gene puts them at higher risk for cancer than most people. When cancer occurs because of an inherited gene mutation, it is referred to as hereditary cancer .
What triggers cancer cells to divide?
Some types of cancer cause rapid cell growth, while others cause cells to grow and divide at a slower rate. Cancerous cells can form tumors, impair the immune system and cause other changes that prevent the body from functioning regularly. Cancerous cells may appear in one area, then spread via the lymph nodes.
Is cancer caused by mutation to DNA?
Cancer is caused by changes (mutations) to the DNA within cells. The DNA inside a cell is packaged into a large number of individual genes, each of which contains a set of instructions telling the cell what functions to perform, as well as how to grow and divide.
What is the relationship between DNA and cancer?
Cancer is out-of-control cell division. It involves a change in the DNA structure that causes an alteration of the normal DNA regulating mechanisms. The malignant (cancerous) cells no longer respond to normal regulatory signals. Cancer most often strikes older individuals.
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