Researching Cancer

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Assessment Instructions

Fundamentally, cancer is a failure of the immune system. Cancer kills because it spreads and disturbs homeostasis. For this assessment, select, research, and then describe a specific type of cancer occurring in either the digestive system or endocrine system. Note: If you choose the digestive system, you may discuss a cancer of the primary digestive system or that of an accessory organ. To select the specific type of cancer you wish to research for this assessment, you are encouraged to refer to the materials linked in the Resources.

In order to complete this assessment, you will need to find high-quality, appropriate, and credible research resources on a specific type of cancer. Resources in the Capella library are recommended because they have been selected for quality and credibility, and are peer-reviewed. If you conduct Internet research outside the library, your resources must be reliable. The “Top 100 List: Health Websites You Can Trust” article, linked in the Resources under the Internet Resources heading, will be of particular help in selecting appropriate sources.

Assessment points will be deducted for citing unreliable sources such as Wikipedia, or other sites based on user-generated content. These sites are not peer-reviewed, and, in the case of Wikipedia, anyone can add an entry or change an entry. Hence, these types of sources should not be cited in college-level research papers. However, you may find Wikipedia useful as a starting point for your Internet research, as Wikipedia entries may provide links to other resources that are reputable and reliable.

Based on your research, write a paper that addresses all of the following:

  • Identify the type of cancer of the endocrine or digestive system that you have researched. Which cancer did you choose, and what part of the body does that cancer affect?
  • What are the biological changes that occur at the level of the cell that result in this type of cancer? What are the biological changes that occur at the level of the major organ as this cancer progresses?
  • What characteristics of cancer cells distinguish them from normal cells?
  • Consider how the disease affects the body as it progresses or spreads. What are some specific aspects of homeostasis that the spreading disease could affect? What self-regulating systems are upset because of this disease?
  • Which therapies are available for treatment for this specific type of cancer? How do these therapies work biologically to treat this type of cancer?
  • What are some lifestyle choices that might aid in prevention or treatment of this type of cancer? How do you incorporate these lifestyle choices in your daily life?
  • How are the biological changes of this cancer, at the level of the cell and organ, similar to and different from changes in other types of cancer?

Formatting Requirements

  • Written communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: References and citations should be formatted according to APA (6th edition) style and formatting.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12-point.

Suggested Resources

The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.

Capella Resources

Click the links provided to view the following resources:


Capella Multimedia

Click the links provided below to view the following multimedia pieces:

  • Digestion | Transcript.
    • This presentation on the human digestive system focuses on the gut, mouth, pharynx, esophagus, epiglottis, small intestine, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, and large intestine.
  • Cell Structure and Function | Transcript.
    • This presentation examines different types of cells and how the body works at a cellular level.
  • Body System | Transcript.
    • This presentation looks at various systems and functions that will be addressed in this course. Review the endocrine system.
Library Resources

The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course:

  • Silverstein, A., Silverstein, V. B., & Silverstein, R. A. (1994). The digestive system. New York, NY: Twenty-First Century Books.
  • Brooks, A. (2007). Systems of our body. Delhi, IND: Global Media.
    • “Digestive System.”
    • “Endocrine System.”
  • Rogers, K. M. A., Scott, W. N, Warner, S., & Willis, B. (2011). Paramedics! Test yourself in anatomy and physiology. Maidenhead, GBR: Open University Press.
    • Chapter 6, “The Endocrine System.”
    • Chapter 9, “The Digestive System.”
  • Singh, S. P., & Tomar, B. S. (2008). Cell biology. Meerut, IND: Global Media.
    • Chapter 23, “The Biology of Cancer.”
  • Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2002). Lippincott professional guides: Anatomy & physiology (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Author.
    • Chapter 6, “Endocrine System.”
    • Chapter 11, “Gastrointestinal System.”
    • Chapter 12, “Nutrition and Metabolism.”
  • Van De Graaff, K. M., & Rhees R. W. (2001). Human anatomy and physiology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
    • Pages 139–140 and 142–146 in Chapter 19, “Digestive System.”
    • Chapter 13, “Endocrine System.”
Course Library Guide

A Capella University library guide has been created specifically for your use in this course. You are encouraged to refer to the resources in the BIO-FP1000 – Human Biology Library Guide to help direct your research.

Internet Resources

Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have been either granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.

Bookstore Resources

The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required. These resources are available from the Capella University Bookstore. When searching the bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific –FP (FlexPath) course designation.

  • Ireland, K. A. (2012). Visualizing human biology (4th ed.). Danvers, MA: Wiley.
    • Chapter 11, “Cancer.” This chapter will help you explore how cancer cells differ from healthy cells, as well as lifestyle choices that can help protect the body from cancer.
    • Chapter 14, “Nutrition: You Are What You Eat.” In this chapter, you will look at how the digestive system breaks molecules down into usable units of energy.
    • Chapter 15, “Digestive System.” In this chapter, you will explore the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to understand the process of digestion from ingestion to absorption. Use your knowledge of diffusion, osmosis, and active transport to understand how nutrient molecules enter the bloodstream to support homeostasis.
    • Chapter 17, “The Endocrine System.” While reading this chapter, use what you have already learned about cell structure and brain function to understand how hormones control many body functions and influence behavior. Explore specific examples of how feedback loops regulate body function to maintain homeostasis.

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