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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

oxygen radical  listen  (OK-sih-jen RA-dih-kul)

  A type of unstable molecule that contains oxygen and that easily reacts with other molecules in a cell. A build up of oxygen radicals in cells may cause damage to DNA, RNA, and proteins, and may cause cell death. An oxygen radical is a free radical. Also called reactive oxygen species.