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Describe Cancer

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Image of cell division

Did you know that our bodies are made up of more than 100 billion cells?! Changes in just one of these cells can eventually lead to something called cancer. Let's find out more below.

Image of an animal cell

Our cells have a nucleus that contains our chromosomes which are formed of our genes. These genes are really important in controlling the cell. They tell the cell what jobs to do, what type of cells to form, when to divide and when to die. Our genes are really important in controlling cell division and making sure they don't grow out of control. Sometimes our genes get corrupted, we call this a mutation. Mutations are random and might cause our cells to divide rapidly and form a tumour. Some mutations don't have any effect at all on our cells.

There are two types of tumour, benign and malignant: 

Image of tumours

Benign tumours 

Benign tumours are a group of cells that are normally contained in one area by a cell membrane. These cells grow very slowly and don't invade other body parts. Because they are contained in an area they can be easily removed. Benign tumours can be life-threatening if they disrupt the function of an organ.

Malignant tumours 

Malignant tumour cells can spread around the body, invading neighbouring healthy tissues. Cells from malignant tumours might break up and enter the blood or lymphatic system. They can then lodge into another organ and form a secondary tumour. These cells divide faster than benign tumour cells, disrupting the organs function which can lead to death.

How come some people get cancer and others don't?

The chances of getting a disease are called risk factors and it's based on different things like the genes you inherit and the lifestyle you lead. 

 Some of the main risk factors are:
  1. Genetic risk factors- for example mutations ​in the BRCA1 gene can lead to breast cancer
  2. Mutations (changes to DNA) can be caused by chemicals for example smoke from cigarettes can lead to lung cancer 
  3. Ionising radiation (UV light or X-rays) may cause skin cancers to form
  4. Around 15% of cancers are caused by viral infections, for example, the human papilloma virus (HPV) can be spread through sexual intercourse. Teenagers in the UK are now vaccinated against HPV.​ ​

 

Image of virus attacking DNA

In the following activity, you will describe how cancers are formed.

What happens to normal cells if genes get damaged? Select one answer below.

 

 

 

Cells replicate

Cell death

Cell divides

Describe what a tumour is by filling in the blanks below.

 

Cells replicate

Cell death

Cell divides

Sometimes genes get mutated. What is meant by the term mutation? Select one answer.

 

 

A random change in a gene

A random change in the cells enzymes

A change that is beneficial to the organism

Image of tumours

There are two types of tumours, benign and malignant.

Describe what benign tumours are by matching up the sentences below.

 

 

Column A

Column B

Benign tumours are a group of abnormal cells that ...
...usually contained in one area usually by a cell...
Benign tumours usually grow slowly and don't...
...spread to other parts of the body.

Image of tumours

Describe some of the features of benign and malignant tumours. Select one answer in each row.

Malignant tumour cells can spread around the body invading neighbouring healthy tissues. How else may malignant tumours affect the body?

Fill in the blanks to answer this question

 

 

Malignant tumours can spread to different parts of the body.

Describe how malignant tumours may spread to other parts of the body. Select two answers.

 

Through the blood

Through the nervous system

Through the lymphatic system

Image of tumour in lungs
The image shows a tumour in the lung of a man.
How may have this tumour formed? Select one answer below.
It could be a side effect from a type of food he ate

Chemicals in things like cigarettes may have caused the tumour

The person could have caught it from someone else

Ovarian and breast cancer are two types of cancers that affect women. Some women might inherit mutations in certain genes which makes it more likely they will develop these cancers. What kind of risk factor is this? Type one answer below. 

Answer true or false for the following statements.

Select one answer in each row.

  • Question 1

What happens to normal cells if genes get damaged? Select one answer below.

 

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Cell death
EDDIE SAYS
Damaged DNA can lead to many problems, so the body deals with any mutations through cell death. This stops any possible harmful mutations from being copied.
  • Question 2

Describe what a tumour is by filling in the blanks below.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Tumours can consist of millions of cells. That's often why some people will notice a lump in various places around the body, signalling that something is not quite right with them.
  • Question 3

Sometimes genes get mutated. What is meant by the term mutation? Select one answer.

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
A random change in a gene
EDDIE SAYS
A misconception is that mutations are always harmful. Often mutations have no negative effect on the organism.
  • Question 4

Image of tumours

There are two types of tumours, benign and malignant.

Describe what benign tumours are by matching up the sentences below.

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Benign tumours are a group of abn...
...usually contained in one area ...
Benign tumours usually grow slowl...
...spread to other parts of the b...
EDDIE SAYS
Benign tumours can be removed fairly easily as they are usually found in one location. However, they can still be very harmful, especially if they are found in or near major organs and interrupt with normal organ functions.
  • Question 5

Image of tumours

Describe some of the features of benign and malignant tumours. Select one answer in each row.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Try to remember: Malignant = Moves Malignant tumours mean the cancerous cells can move and spread to other tissues. Benign = Bound Benign tumours mean the abnormal cells are kept contained (bound) by a cell membrane.
  • Question 6

Malignant tumour cells can spread around the body invading neighbouring healthy tissues. How else may malignant tumours affect the body?

Fill in the blanks to answer this question

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Often when people talk about cancer they are referring to malignant tumours. Because malignant cancers can spread they have more chance of disrupting organ functions and cause serious side effects in sufferers.
  • Question 7

Malignant tumours can spread to different parts of the body.

Describe how malignant tumours may spread to other parts of the body. Select two answers.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Through the blood
Through the lymphatic system
EDDIE SAYS
Cancerous cells can break away from the main tumour. These cells can then travel around the body via the blood or lymphatic system.
  • Question 8
Image of tumour in lungs
The image shows a tumour in the lung of a man.
How may have this tumour formed? Select one answer below.
CORRECT ANSWER
Chemicals in things like cigarettes may have caused the tumour
EDDIE SAYS
Cancer is a non-communicable disease. This means you can't catch it. Certain environmental factors might contribute to it like smoking cigarettes or radiation from the sun whilst sunbathing.
  • Question 9

Ovarian and breast cancer are two types of cancers that affect women. Some women might inherit mutations in certain genes which makes it more likely they will develop these cancers. What kind of risk factor is this? Type one answer below. 

CORRECT ANSWER
Genetic
EDDIE SAYS
Genetic risk factor means a person might inherit a faulty gene that makes them more likely to develop a certain type of cancer like breast cancer. It doesn't mean they will definitely develop that cancer though.
  • Question 10

Answer true or false for the following statements.

Select one answer in each row.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A quick summary activity to test your knowledge. Have a few go's if you didn't manage to get them all correct the first time round!
---- OR ----

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