Online College Courses for Credit



Author: Amanda Soderlind

This lesson will explain how cancer is caused by a gene mutation.

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Cancer is a disease caused by a mutation which is a change in DNA. The mutation can then cause cells to divide uncontrollably by disrupting the normal cell cycle causing cells to divide over and over again. Cancer can be caused by many factors. Some people can blame their genes for cancer. Cancer can be hereditary meaning genes for it can be passed down from parents to child. If cancer runs in your family there is a higher risk that you will get cancer at some point in your life. This however, does not necessarily mean you will for sure get cancer. A person can carry a mutated gene without ever actually getting cancer. Your health, diet and lifestyle can play a role on whether or not cancer develops from that mutated gene. Cancer can also be caused by other factors such as radiation, viruses, chemicals or smoking. So, for example, a person who smokes or spends a lot of time in the sun exposed to UV radiation increases their risk of cancer.