style[amp-boilerplate] Campus Naija Health;Bad luck causes most Cancer, New study find

Campus Naija Health;Bad luck causes most Cancer, New study find

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It is widely believed that as humans, if we

exercise for 30 minutes every day, eat

healthy, avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs,

meditate, and participate in the health trend,

it seems logical that we will live longer, be

happier, and avoid diseases like cancer.

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that

way. A new study published in Science

suggests that most cancers are unavoidable.

They're caused more often by bad luck than

anything else.

Mutation, which drives cancer, is actually

totally normal.

According to Science, it's in fact the engine of

evolution--if not for mutation, our genes

wouldn't make the random changes that once

in a while end up giving us a new, important

skill--like making enzymes that break down

lactose, or resistance to disease. But often,

those mutations get out of control.

Cells divide and divide until they overpower

the useful cells in our body and kill us. That's

what cancer is.

According to Bert Vogelstein and Cristian

Tomasetti at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel

Cancer Center, many of these cancers are

unavoidable. They're just part of nature.

"We all agree that 40 percent of cancers

are preventable," Vogelstein said at a

press conference. "The question is, what

about the other cancers that aren't

known to be preventable?"

Vogelstein explained that each time a cell's

DNA is copied, mistakes are made. Most of

these mistakes are harmless, and as noted

above, some of them can even be beneficial.

"But occasionally they occur in a cancer driver

gene. That's bad luck," Vogelstein says.

Several of these bad-luck mistakes can add up

to a cancerous cell. Their study sets out to

determine how often these mistakes are

preventable--whether by not smoking or

maintaining a healthy weight--how often they

are genetic, and how often they occur by

chance. The answer may surprise people who

have spent decades believing they can control

the development of cancer in their bodies.

According to the paper, 66% of cancerous

mutations are random, 29% are preventable,

and only 5% are genetic. The numbers vary

depending on the type of cancer. Lung cancer

is indeed usually caused by cigarette smoke,

while childhood cancer is often random. The

authors hope that these statistics will help

some parents feel less responsible for their

children's disease. An earlier paper by the

authors on the same topic stirred up

controversy in the scientific community. Some

feel that publicizing this viewpoint will make

people less likely to follow advice about

cancer prevention. This new study is likely to

be even more controversial. Of course, cancer

science is incredibly complicated.

Mutations are not the only thing that matter in

driving cancer. Factors like hormones can also

play a role in determining who the disease

hits hardest. "We're not saying the only thing

that determines the seriousness of the cancer,

or its aggressiveness, or its likelihood to cause

the patient's death, are these mutations,"

Vogelstein told NPR.

"We're simply saying that

they are necessary to get the cancer."

Source: NPR

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