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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


element  listen  (EH-leh-ment)

  A basic part of a whole. In chemistry, refers to a simple substance that cannot be broken down into smaller parts or changed into another substance. The basic part of an element is an atom, which contains protons, neutrons, and electrons. All atoms of an element have the same number of protons. Examples of elements are hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and calcium.