Cancers are not always genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors can also contribute to it, revealed a new study. The study was published in the Journal Nature.
A recent study by Yusuf Hannun from Stony Brook University New York, US has reported that intrinsic factors like genetic mutations do not cause all cancers. Extrinsic factors like UV radiation, ionizing radiation and carcinogens also trigger the development of cancers.
‘Cancers are not always genetic and 70-90 % of cancers would not occur if external risk factors like radiation, carcinogen exposure are avoided.’
Yusuf Hannun of Stony Brook University New York, US, said, "Here we provide evidence that intrinsic risk factors contribute only modestly to cancer development. The rates of mutation accumulation by intrinsic processes are not sufficient to account for the observed cancer risks."
The results of the study showed that 70-90 % of cancers would not occur if all the external risk factors are avoided. People who migrated from regions of lower cancer risk to those with higher risk soon developed the disease at rates consistent with their new environment.
He concluded that although some rare cancers can be driven by genetic mutations, the most prevalent diseases are down to environmental factors. It is important that these 'extrinsic' factors are taken into account in cancer prevention and research.
Reference: Yusuf A. Hannun, Song Wu et al. "Substantial contribution of extrinsic risk factors to cancer development", Nature 2015, doi:10.1038/nature16166