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Dictionary of Cancer Terms

View in Spanish: Telómero

Telomere (TEH-loh-meer)
The ends of a chromosome. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres lose a small amount of DNA and become shorter. Over time, the chromosomes become damaged and the cells die. In cancer cells the telomeres do not get shorter, and may become longer, as the cells divide.



 
 
Source: National Cancer Institute Dictionary of Cancer Terms, available at www.cancer.gov/dictionary.