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Cancer Warrior

How Cancer Grows Go to "How Cancer Grows"

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How Cancer Grows
by Rick Groleau and Lexi Krock

For most people, cancer is a word that generates fear and a great sense of dread, especially for those who have been diagnosed with the disease or know someone who has. And with good cause. This year over a half a million Americans are expected to die from cancer.

Yet those who study the disease—researchers, doctors, and others who keep themselves up to date on the latest developments—know that cancer is not an irreversible death sentence. They know that cancer does not describe a single disease but rather more than 100 types of disease, some of which are fully curable. They know that the treatments of even the more lethal types continually improve, and that every day scientists understand a little more about cancer's cause, growth, and spread.

All cancers begin with a genetic mutation within a body cell and advance when the cell's descendants mutate further. This feature follows the progression of a malignant tumor, beginning with the first mutation within a cell and ending with metastasis, the colonization of related tumors throughout the body. It focuses on the most common type of cancer, a carcinoma, which can originate in a particular type of tissue found in the skin, breast, prostate, and other organs.
Rick Groleau is managing editor of NOVA Online. Lexi Krock is the site's editorial assistant.

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