When you suddenly found out that you get cancer, what’s your reaction? Probably cry of disbelief before seeks another specialists’ opinion. You want to know why because you believe there’s a reason – from genetic inheritance to food that you’ve eaten. Some may think it could be due to “karma”, something bad that they’ve done previously, thus they may go seek forgiveness from their Gods.
Forget about God’s punishment or the cigarettes that you smoked since centuries ago. It appears those who get cancer were purely due to – bad luck. In a study published in a journal Science, oncologist Dr. Bert Vogelstein of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and Johns Hopkins bio-mathematician Cristian Tomasetti revealed the amazing discovery.
The researchers found that two-thirds of cancer incidence of various types can be blamed on random mutations and not heredity or risky habits like smoking. Random DNA mutations accumulating in various parts of the body during ordinary cell division are the prime culprits behind many cancer types. They attributed 65% of cancer incidence to random mutations in genes that can drive cancer growth.
Out of 31 cancer types studied, a whopping 22 of them, including leukemia and pancreatic, bone, testicular, ovarian and brain cancer, could be explained largely by these random mutations – biological bad luck. The other 9 types, including colorectal cancer, skin cancer and smoking-related lung cancer, were more heavily influenced by heredity and environmental factors like risky behaviour or exposure to carcinogens.
Tomasetti claimed harmful mutations occur for “no particular reason other than randomness” as the body’s master cells, called stem cells, divide in various tissues. Essentially, this means it’s plainly bad luck that you get cancer, the same way you didn’t strike lottery. However, Tomasetti said the study indicates that changing one’s lifestyle like smoking to avoid cancer risks may help prevent certain cancers, but may not be as effective for others.
Could this be the reason why some heavy smokers could live up to 90 years of age, while those who didn’t may get some sort of cancers and die young? Generally, the study reveals tissues that undergo more divisions – thus increasing the probability of random mutations – were more prone to tumours. Fortunately, the researchers didn’t speculate that you can be transformed into X-Men, such as Wolverine, if cells mutations reach certain level (*grin*).
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