Cell biology/Cancer

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Cancer is a class of diseases, known for cells (malignant tumors) with uncontrolled growth, invasion, and metastasis. This is different from benign (don't spread) tumors, which do none of these things. If cancer has spread, it is known as metastisized.


  1. Abnormalities of the genetic material of the transformed cells
  2. Carcinogens (tobacco smoke, radiation, viruses, etc.)
  3. Cancer-promoting genetic abnormalities (DNA errors during replication, inherited, etc.)



Carcinoma is a spreadable malignant tumor derived from "epthelial" cells. Examples are lung cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer.


Sarcoma is a malignant tumor derived from connective tissue. An example of sarcoma is Osteosarcoma, or "bone cancer".

Lyphoma and Leukemia[edit]

Lyphoma and Leukemia: Malignancies derived from blood-forming cells. Examples: Leukemia, cancer of blood and bone marrow.

Germ-cell tumor[edit]

Germ-cell tumor: In adults, malignancies derived from sex organs. Examples: Ovarian cancer, testicular cancer.


Blastoma: Common in children. Example: Retinoblastoma, cancer of the retina.

Naming cancer cells[edit]

  • Usually named -carcinoma, -sarcoma, or -blastoma as a suffix.
    • Examples include hepatocarcinoma, cancer of the liver, and liposarcoma, cancer of the fat cells.
  • Most benign tumors are named -oma as a suffix.
    • However, some cancers, like melanoma, end with "-oma"


A diagnosis is initially recognized by signs of symptoms, investigations (blood tests, X-rays, CT scans), and biopsy (testing tissues surgically removed).


  • Surgery - removing tumor.
  • Chemotherapy - stops cell's ability to divide.
  • Radiation therapy - damages DNA of cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy - stimulates immune system to fight cancer cells.