Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. Cancer begins when a single cell mutates, resulting in a breakdown of the normal regulatory controls that keep cell division in check. These mutations can be inherited, caused by errors in DNA replication, or result from exposure to harmful chemicals. A cancerous tumor can spread to other parts of the body and, if left untreated, be fatal.
Images and animations are courtesy of the National Human Genome Research Institute's Talking Glossary (
Materials for Cancer


Inside Cancer Multimedia Guide to Cancer Biology
Description: Information and animations exploring cancer characteristics, causes, prevention, and diagnosis, among other things


Breast Cancer Risk and Environmental Factors (PDF 1.37 MB)
Description: An illustrated article on breast cancer risk factors
Cancer and the Environment (PDF 699.44 KB)
Description: Detailed article on environmental risk factors for cancer
Cancer Genetics Overview
Description: Information on the role gene mutations play in causing cancer, characteristics of heritable cancers, genetic counseling for cancer risk, and testing technologies used to study cancer genetics
Genes in the News
Description: An overview on gene discovery in the field of cancer
Genetics and Cancer
Description: A general overview on cancer genetics and testing

Lesson Guides/Lesson Plans

Cell Biology and Cancer
Description: A NIH Curriculum Supplement for high school teachers including lesson plans, class activities, and videos.
Environment and Gene Interactions Cancer Module (PDF 3,266.9 KB)
Description: A power point presentation on genetic and environmental risk factors for cancer
Good Cells Gone Bad (PDF 102.28 KB)
Description: An activity on the cellular changes that lead to cancer

Teacher Resources

Inside Cancer - Teacher Center
Description: A Web tool for building classroom presentations, finding lesson plans, and aligning content with national and local education standards

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