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What is cancer?

Cancer is caused by the accumulation of genetic damage in individual cells in the body, leading to abnormal cellular growth, survival and migration. The genetic damage can arise from environmental triggers (such as diet, exercise and viruses) or be caused by rare DNA mutations occurring by chance during the division of one of the trillions of cells that make up our bodies.

Cancer: Divide and conquer

Professor Parry Guilford presents an accessible overview of how cancer behaves as a disease, and the new genomic technologies that are beginning to transform the treatment of cancer.

Cancer: Divide and conquer watch it on YouTube (lecture 35 mins, plus 12 mins of question time)

The topics include:

  • Cancer is ubiquitous and age-old
  • Causes of cancer
  • What the differences are between cancer cells and normal cells
  • What mechanisms help cancer cells
  • Can a benign growth become invasive?
  • Why cancer is so hard to beat—but what we know now
  • The value of your genetic profile in determining best treatment
  • Cancer survivorship trends
  • New directions for treatment; what diagnostic tools and approaches are most promising

Professor Guilford, Director of the Centre for Translational Cancer Research—Te Aho Matatū, presented Cancer: Divide and conquer as part of the University of Otago Winter Lecture Series, in 2014.

Read more about Parry's research here:
Professor Parry Guilford's research profile