Is cancer altered DNA?
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.
Do cancer cells have altered genes?
Cells become cancer cells largely because of mutations in their genes. Often many mutations are needed before a cell becomes a cancer cell. The mutations may affect different genes that control cell growth and division. Some of these genes are called tumor suppressor genes.
Do cancer cells divide with mutated DNA?
Mutations in genes can cause cancer by accelerating cell division rates or inhibiting normal controls on the system, such as cell cycle arrest or programmed cell death. As a mass of cancerous cells grows, it can develop into a tumor.
Does cancer run through the family?
Although cancer is common, only 5-10% of it is hereditary, meaning an individual has inherited an increased risk for cancer from one of their parents. This inherited risk for cancer is caused by a small change (called a mutation) in a gene, which can be passed from one generation to the next in a family.
Cancer results from a gene that is not normally expressed in a cell, but is switched on and expressed at high levels due to mutations or alterations in gene regulation.