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How Cancer Grows and Spreads

  • By Rick Groleau and Lexi Krock
  • Posted 02.27.01
  • NOVA

Cancer is not a single disease but rather more than 100 types of disease. Yet all cancer begins with a genetic mutation within a body cell and advances when the cell's descendants mutate further. The following step thru shows the progression of a malignant tumor, ending with metastasis, the colonization of tumors throughout the body. It focuses on the most common type of cancer, a carcinoma, which can originate in the skin, breast, prostate, and other organs.

Launch Interactive Printable Version

See how a malignant tumor can progress from a single cell to widespread metastasis.

Credits

All images © WGBH Educational Foundation

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