Cancerous cells are different from normal cells in several ways:
- Uncontrolled growth: Cancer cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass of cells called a tumor. Normal cells divide only when new cells are needed to replace old or damaged cells, and they stop dividing when they come into contact with other cells.
- Lack of differentiation: Cancer cells may lack differentiation, which means they do not have the specialized structures and functions of normal cells. Instead, they may look and behave like immature cells.
- Ability to invade nearby tissues: Cancer cells can invade and destroy nearby tissues, including blood vessels and organs, and spread to other parts of the body.
- Resistance to cell death: Cancer cells may resist programmed cell death, or apoptosis, which is a normal process that removes damaged or unnecessary cells from the body.
- Abnormal cell signaling: Cancer cells may have abnormal signaling pathways that promote cell growth and division, or inhibit cell death.
- Altered metabolism: Cancer cells may have altered metabolism, which allows them to grow and divide even in conditions of low oxygen and nutrients.
These differences arise due to mutations or changes in the DNA of the cell, which can be caused by various factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors such as exposure to carcinogens, and lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity.