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Introduction to Mathematical Oncology by Steffen E. Eikenberry, John D. Nagy, Yang Kuang

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Chapter 2

Introduction to Cancer Modeling

2.1 Introduction to cancer dynamics

Describing cancer as “uncontrolled cell growth,” as is frequently done, is a bit like calling a rocket “a stick that moves.” Indeed, rockets move and cancers grow without a lot of regulation, but something is obviously amiss. First of all, “cell growth,” i.e., cells becoming larger, is not the problem. Cell replication (proliferation) is. But even saying “cancer is uncontrolled cell proliferation” still fails to uniquely characterize cancer because many other diseases—elephantiasis, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diverticulitis and atherosclerosis to name a few—also are characterized by uncontrolled proliferation.

A more insightful description views cancer ...

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