NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 8,128 terms related to cancer and medicine.

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mutation
(myoo-TAY-shun)
Any change in the DNA sequence of a cell. Mutations may be caused by mistakes during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment. Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect. If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are not inherited. Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases.