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generalised cancer cells diagram (graphic)

Cancer Cell Picture; this image is 500 pixels across the original is 3,000 pixels across.

CANCER: Cancer happens when a cell breaks free of normal constraints and starts reproducing out of control. The genetic material of a cancer cell has multiple problems.

IMAGE: This image shows generalised cancer cells. At lower right, cells have replicated forming a growth or tumour (tumor). Some of these cells are shown breaking away from the tumour and floating off. The red-green background suggests a blood vessel or lymph vessel through which the cancer cells can spread to distant sites around the body where they might settle to seed new colonies (metastatic or secondary tumours). The dominant cell at upper left has various projections radiating from it that help it to attach to surfaces and move along. There are various dividing cells shown (mitotic figures). The plasma membranes (cell surfaces) are shown as bluey green and the nuclei as yellow.

CANCER CELL MORPHOLOGY: Cancer cells tend to be more spherical than normal cells and their surfaces are characterised by ripples and various projections. These projections range from small outpocketings (blebs) to long filamentous filopodia. There may be may be small finger-like projections (microvilli) and flat sheet-like projections that look like sails (lamellopodia). The nuclei tend to be relatively large and somewhat angular.

See our image on tumour angiogenesis.

VIDEOS ON CANCER from RKM:
  • Breast Cancer
  • topics include: biology, prevention, early detection and treatment. It encourages women over 50 to attend screening clinics and urges all women to perform regular breast self examinations. The video demonstrates breast self examination.
  • Prevention and Early Detection of Cancer
  • topics include: Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Skin Cancer, Breast Cancer & Breast Self Examination, Cervical Cancer, Testicular Cancer & Testicular Self Examination.
  • Cervical Cancer
  • topics include: location and appearance of cervix, structure of cervical epithelium, movement of transformation zone, Human Papilloma Virus, development and spread of cervical cancer, risk factors, minimising risk (sexual behaviour + smear tests), explnation of the smear test, treatments.


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