NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,861 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

somatic mutation
(soh-MA-tik myoo-TAY-shun)
An alteration in DNA that occurs after conception. Somatic mutations can occur in any of the cells of the body except the germ cells (sperm and egg) and therefore are not passed on to children. These alterations can (but do not always) cause cancer or other diseases.