NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Melanoma - page 7

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NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Melanoma
Version 1.2013
Part 1: About melanoma
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1.2 What is melanoma skin cancer?
Cells are the building blocks that form tissue in the body. Genes are the
instructions in cells for making new cells and controlling how cells behave.
Abnormal changes (mutations) in genes can turn normal cells into cancer
(malignant) cells. Normal cells grow and then divide to form new cells. New
cells are made as the body needs them. When normal cells grow old or get
damaged, they die. Cancer cells do not do this. Cancer cells make new cells
that aren’t needed and don’t die quickly when old or damaged. Over time,
cancer cells grow and divide enough to form a tumor (Figure 2). The first tumor
formed by the overgrowth of cancer cells is called the primary tumor.
Figure 2. Normal versus cancer cell growth
Illustration Copyright © 2013 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.
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