Random Gene Mutations Primary Cause for Most Cancer Types

A Johns Hopkins Medicine research study has concluded that bad luck plays a part in cancer. There are those who live to be ninety and yet they smoke while others live healthy lives and get cancer anyway. This could very well change the way people look at risk factors causing cancer.

Random mutations in genes are capable of causing cancer growth. This is true in about two thirds of adult cancer types.

Yes, smoking can still kill you and certain cancers are the exception to this where environment and lifestyle still play a big role. Skin and lung cancers are two such types.

There are some cancers that are stronger influenced by genetic heritage. If cancer runs in your family you still need to be vigilant and health oriented. An unhealthy lifestyle can only bend the defining factors in the direction of some cancers over others.

Another third of cancer types are due to inherited genes and environmental factors. In fact all cancers are seen to be caused by a combination of these three factors. Cancer researcher, Bert Vogelstein, says they have actually created a model that "may help quantify how much of these three factors contribute to cancer development."

All of our organs have stem cells which divide on a constant basis and at any time a mistake can take place in the DNA. With these small mistakes in some genes promotion of cancer growth is more apparent. So the more these add up the more cells may grow making this a prime characteristic for the very beginning of cancers.

This study shows that what scientists have actually already known has even more influence than they had suspected previously. It is what they can proudly call "good science" in verifying and fully confirming what they have known to be true for about twenty years.

Over the years while learning more about cancer they have come to realize that some start unexplainably and are just termed, unfortunately, as bad luck. These cancers have escaped certain systems the body has set up to deal with these type of cells. Such as a programmed cell death(apoptosis) DNA repair enzymes in the immune system.

These research scientists have found an average of cell divisions in 31 different tissues within a human lifetime and the risk of cancer in each of these tissues. They realized that the more divisions that took place in these tissues the more opportunity for cancer to grow in them.

The study showed that the tissue in the colon divides more that other intestinal tissue and colon cancer is more wide spread there. So that the scientists have realized that cancer risk is being explained by the actual cell divisions and found it to be 65 percent.

The researchers came to the further conclusion that out of 31 cancers they looked at 22 that were "bad luck" cancers. The nine others appeared at rates much higher than from cell divisions alone and is probably due to pollution, habits or genetics. And so it is no surprise that lung and skin cancer, being two of the ones researched, is found that smoking and too much sun are linked to both cancers very strongly.

But just because these type of cancers occur due to random mutations it doesn't mean that two thirds of cancer cases happen because a person is unlucky.

Dr. Gordon Mills, chair of systems biology and co-director of the Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center says: "It is important to emphasize that the nine cancers where non-random events are important, these constitute the most prevalent cancers. Thus, the major it (sic) of cancers likely have joint random mutation and hereditary events."

Early detection is still of great importance.


About celticeagle

Have written online for more than eight years now on many subjects. Also write under the username of Eve Sherrill York.


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