|MadSci Network: Cell Biology|
Although almost any dividing cell can become a cancer cell, the cells most commonly affected by cancer are the more rapidly growing types of cells. This is because cancer takes a lot of cell divisions to develop. Each time a cell divides it makes a new copy of all of its DNA. Each time the DNA is copied, there is a chance for a mistake. These mistakes, called "mutations", lead to cancer. But, it is thought that many mutations are needed to cause cancer. SO, the more times the cell divides, the more chance for error, and the higher the possibility of cancer occuring. Quickly dividing cells include blood cells. One cancer of the blood cells is known as leukemia. Other common cancers come from epithelial cells. "Epithelial" cells are cells that make linings in the body. For example, some types of skin cells are epithelial cells. Epithelial cells of the breast and prostate can become cancer cells. Erin
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