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A mutation is a change in the constitution of DNA (the building block/genetic make-up of the cells). Mutations can be harmful or beneficial. Mutations can occur by chance or be induced by external agents (e.g. DNA damaging agents such as x-radiation, chemicals from DDT to some chemotherapeutic agents etc.). The mutations of interest in oncology are those which lead to the cells becoming cancerous (no longer under the growth control of the normal cell rwegulating processes of the body). When mutations occur in the sperm of ova, then the mutations can be inherited.

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