Editors' Choice

Random Genetic Mistakes Cause Two-Thirds Of Cancer Cases

Diana Rolland / March 26, 2017

A study has found that around two-thirds of cancers are actually caused by random DNA typos that happen when normal, healthy cells replicate themselves. That’s why a number of seemingly healthy individuals are still affected by the deadly disease.

 

Dr. Bert Vogelstein, a cancer geneticist in Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, has his study published in the journal Science, and said because of the genetic mistakes, the cancers can form no matter how perfect the environment.

 

Source: bbc (SPL)

 

The findings show that these genetic mistakes are a large source of cancerous mutations and have been scientifically undervalued historically. To get the results, Vogelstein teamed up with Cristian Tomasetti, a mathematician, to develop a mathematical model from DNA sequencing data. Based on their model (and not accounting for variation between specific cancers), the researchers found that 5% of cancers were inherited, 29% occurred due to environmental and lifestyle factors, and 66% were caused by cell replication errors.

 

They stressed though, that many of these cancers were not preventable, the best way to prevent death by cancer is early detection and treatment.

 

Now, just because cancers can occur in the healthiest of adults, this doesn’t mean you should abandon all your healthy lifestyle choices and flush them down the toilet. There are still preventable cancers that you can avoid by eating right, maintaining your weight, and avoiding smoking.