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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to the Biology of Cancer by Johns Hopkins University

6,875 ratings

About the Course

Over 500,000 people in the United States and over 8 million people worldwide are dying every year from cancer. As people live longer, the incidence of cancer is rising worldwide and the disease is expected to strike over 20 million people annually by 2030. This open course is designed for people who would like to develop an understanding of cancer and how it is prevented, diagnosed, and treated. The course introduces the molecular biology of cancer (oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes) as well as the biologic hallmarks of cancer. The course also describes the risk factors for the major cancers worldwide, including lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, and stomach cancer. We explain how cancer is staged, the major ways cancer is found by imaging, and how the major cancers are treated. In addition to the core materials, this course includes two Honors lessons devoted to cancers of the liver and prostate. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: - Identify the major types of cancer worldwide. (Lecture 1) - Describe how genes contribute to the risk and growth of cancer. (Lecture 2) - List and describe the ten cellular hallmarks of cancer. (Lecture 3) - Define metastasis, and identify the major steps in the metastatic process. (Lecture 4) - Describe the role of imaging in the screening, diagnosis, staging, and treatments of cancer. (Lecture 5) - Explain how cancer is treated. (Lecture 6) We hope that this course gives you a basic understanding of cancer biology and treatment. The course is not designed for patients seeking treatment guidance – but it can help you understand how cancer develops and provides a framework for understanding cancer diagnosis and treatment....

Top reviews


Mar 17, 2017

I am an Undergraduate student and i didnt even read oncology subject, but this course not just start the beginer level , butt gradually it goes in depth and the flow of lectuures and topics is smooth


Jan 13, 2022

A beautifully structured course with highly valuable information explained with great detail in a simplified manner. Highly recommended for anyone interested to gain overall understanding of Cancer.

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51 - 75 of 1,312 Reviews for Introduction to the Biology of Cancer

By Madubueze V E

May 6, 2022

The lecture slides are very easy to understand and the instructors use the simplest language and grammar (semantics). This is very important because those who have little or no knowledge of biology may find it difficult to understand the concepts taugh in the modules. Even best, at the beginning of each modelu, there is a short introduction to complex words to be used, their meanings and applications. Summarily, it is best for those who are intrested in starting an academic or rsearch career i cancer biology but do not know where to start.

By Antje B

Jun 11, 2020

I took this course as my work as a conference interpreter quite frequently includes clinical trial meetings. Whereas I always found the subject matter hugely interesting, it is often not that easy to research clinical trial related material online as it is not always well publicised, for obvious reasons. I am hoping that with some additional basic knowledge of the therapeutic areas I come across most often in my work, I will become more efficient in my own job of aiding communication about medical progress in a multilingual setting.

By tejaswini d

Jul 28, 2020

I really enjoyed the course "Introduction to the Biology of Cancer". It was presented in an organized and understandable manner which helped my track my progress. The periodic quizzes helped me to assess my progress and improved my focus during the lectures. The instructors were experienced and taught the concepts in a clear and concise way. At the end of the course, I have a good understanding of the basics of Cancer biology and I feel confident to take more advanced courses that are specific to my areas of interest.

By Rubaiyat

Oct 2, 2016

I loved this course as I found the topic fascinating (the 10 hallmarks absolutely blew my mind - those cancer cells are so conniving!). I think the instructors did a fantastic job delivering the material.

I am a Product Manager in the software industry, and I took this class for my personal curiosity.

I wish we were able to submit the answers to the quiz without officially purchasing the course. I did not purchase the course as it does not pertain to my profession and I do not really need a certification for it.

By Afia M

Sep 19, 2020

It was an excellent course with explanations from learned individuals in their respective fields of work at its best. I have gained essential and basic knowledge of how cancer cells develop and function. The imaging and screening module within this course has helped me to understand various scans and X-rays. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and hope to look forward to more such courses ahead. I would also appreciate it if there would be some final projects to be evaluated by peers and vice versa.

By Dr N D

Oct 14, 2016

The course was excellent, with very good structure, with the right level of difficulty/complexity, with very good slides & discussions. The only couple of points for potential amendments that I would propose is a) avert from calling/mentioning drugs with their brand names, but rather use the active ingredient names only, and b) perhaps providing resources for further reading (i.e web links etc) to all material after each lecture, like you did for week 6 final lecture.

By Jyotirika Y

Jun 23, 2020

This course helped me to get in depth with what 'cancer' is. We get exposed to 'cancer' as something which is associated with negative ideologies and conditions; however, one is not bothered enough to look into what it actually is and how it affects the lives of people. I have always been curious as to how 'cancer' is formed and in what way it affects the human body in a more descriptive and biological way. It was really educational and informative.

By Richa T

Jul 13, 2022

Absolutely loved this course! The Introduction to the Biology of Cancer encompasses almost all aspects of oncology - right from the aetiology, genetic mishaps, the 10 cancer hallmarks, proteins associated with cancer, metastasis and stagoing of cancer, clinical imaging and treatment - everything was covered!

I would 100% recommend this course to anyone who is passionate about cancer biology, and wishes to develop a basic understanding of the same.

By Babu Y

May 4, 2020

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for the wonderful course package provided by your Team of Members. I finished my certification at the earliest as the lectures and course content was very interesting. It was very lucid and was in brief. I thank the Course Coordinator Prof. Kenneth Pienta for the wonderful streamlining of the course content. Many congratulations to you and your team. It came as a free course for which am very indebted. Thank you all again.


Nov 9, 2019

I am now able to Identify the major types of cancer

List and describe the hallmarks of cancer

I can differentitate that the contribution of genes to the risk and growth of cancer

Define metastasis and identify the major steps in the metastatic process

I can describe the role of imaging in the screening,diagnosis,staging,and treatment of cancer

And i can explain how cancer is treated

And importantly i can explain how cancer is treated

By Henita C

Oct 13, 2019

The course was very informative and helpful. I had signed up for the certified course but still haven’t received the certificate even after completion, my mail I’d is correct because I’ve received all other mails and some link to verify my name for certification is also not opening. I hope you can look into my complaint and certify me as soon as possible. Thank you for considering. I also look forward to enroll into new courses soon.

By Nesterenko Y

Sep 20, 2016

This course emphasis brief introduction to biology of cancer. Here by simple words and examples you can discover which risk factors can cause cancer and what prevention needs to be done to minimize chance of cancer occurrence etc. I will suggest this course to all my colleges. I am really pleased for passing this course.

I wish all group Introduction to the Biology of Cancer further inspiration to create new interesting courses.

By Michael J N

Jan 19, 2023

This was mostly a refresher course for me, but the updated and new topics were well-presented. The stepwise organization of lectures moving from origins of cancer to metastasis was easy to follow and understand. I highly recommend this course to science undergrads, those outside the field but with some biology background, and individuals in fields like patents and pharmaceutical sciences who want a foundation in cancer biology.


By Ecenur T

Sep 18, 2022

As a biology student I have interest in human body and disease. Cancer is one of the diseases that our body struggle with defend itself. It is not just interesting subject, it is also sad and it means a lot of lifes that taken from us. I'm trying to discover what I want to in my future and how can I effect people's life as much as possible. Thanks to profs and assitance from that course for making my way to future clearlier.

By María J B C

Mar 8, 2021

First i would like to say that the course is an amazing key to open your mind about the biology of the cancer and brings us the basic information that we should know about it.

I really like the structure and explanation about the content of each week, and the way you involved every topic with others specially with the Hallmarks of cancer, allowing us to understand the molecular mechanisms and treatments of this complex disease

By divya

Jun 28, 2020

I an very thank full to johns Hopkins university, I learned so many things from this course i.e 10 cellular hallmarks and therapy...., especially this course is use full for those who wants to work in research and development and health care professions too and In last video they mentioned some web site -information on clinical trials and different cancers so we can easily access the information from those web site

By Ruchi T

Apr 28, 2019

I would like to thank coursera to consider me eligible for the scholarship. I have completed the course with a cent percent result, hence proving my interest in the subject. The course was beautifully presented and explained by all the professors. It was brief and knowledgeable at the same time. The quizzes after each lecture have helped in clearing the main quiz. The course was all in all very knowledgeable. Thankyou

By Mrutyunjaya P

Apr 27, 2020

This is one of the best courses I had taken on Cancer, to date. I acquired much new knowledge on the fundamentals and basics of Cancer Biology and would definitely use this knowledge as a baseline for my further academic pursuits and the lot many research works that I will do in my life. Thank You, Dr. Pienta and his wonderful team - Dr. Amend, Dr. Jelani, Dr. Valkenburg and Miss Reyes.

By Vignesh R

May 21, 2019

Thank you very much, Dr. Kenneth Pienta, for providing such an engaging course throughout 6 weeks, and I enjoyed every content of this course that is well structured especially Ten hallmarks of cancer, TNM staging, cancer imaging, and various types of cancer treatments. Overall, it is a comprehensive cancer biology course. Looking forward to having an intermediate level of this course.

By 黄婷婷

Aug 7, 2018

I'm a project manager working in new drug discovery and IND-enalbling projects, mainly for anti-cancer filed. this course is easy to understand and involved a lot of useful knowledge to facilitate understanding of the rational of new drug, in which the mechanisms are ofter related to some of the hallmarks of cancer. Thanks you very much for making and sharing the course, very nice job.

By Kishan P

Jun 17, 2020

The course is really good & very informative. The course content is just perfect for any new born in the area. Apparently, the instructors provide to the point information about the topic.

Thanks to the instructors for making such a course; it really planted the basic biology of cancer in me & also deepened its understanding by providing an HONORS in it .

Great Work please keep going .

By Jorge M F

Apr 23, 2021

Un curso magnífico! Me voy feliz de haber aprendido los conceptos básicos y fundamentales acerca de una enfermedad tan dolorosa y común como es el cáncer. Espero utilizar mis conocimientos en la vida diaria para tomar precauciones e incentivar a las personas a cuidarse y controlarse a menudo. Muchas gracias a todo el equipo desarrollador, me llevo un aprendizaje para la vida!

By Melisa E

Oct 5, 2020

It was exactly what I would expect from an intermediate level course. It never lost my attention or made me feel like I was in over my head, while keeping me interested at all times through the quality and quantity of new relevant information about cancer. I'm glad I took this course and feel like I can distinguish myself from my peers with this insight! Thank you very much.

By Brita F

Dec 19, 2016

An excellent course! Whoever is interested in the development and metastasis of cancer should take this course. The lectures are very well presented and structured, so they are quite easy to follow even for a layman. I found the part on the hallmarks of cancer particularly interesting - a course that would go into more detail here would be on my wish list for future courses.

By Markos V

Jul 22, 2019

This is a great course! I do not have a medical background so it helped me understand several concepts. I liked the fact that after each session I had to answer quizzes to move on. On the improvement side, I would like to see the face of the person who is lecturing to make it more personal.

Thanks a lot for the amazing course, for sure I will come back to review it again!