Growth of cancer

The basic mode of growth of tumours is exponential, though deviations do occur. One cubic centimetre of tumour tissue may contain over 108 neoplastic cells (in addition to many normal host cells) and their production from an initial transformed cell requires around 30 generations of cell multiplication. During this period of active tumour growth the tumour will be below 1 cm3 and undetectable; five further doublings of cell number will give a volume of around 32 cm3; and five more, a volume of over 1000 cm3. Exponential growth from a single cell thus gives the impression of a long 'silent period' followed by apparently rapid growth.

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