Three Basic Causes of Cancer

Three Basic Causes of Cancer

Researchers have emphasized that random mutations are essential to cancer development.

According to scientists from Johns Hopkins University, over two-thirds of cancer-causing genetic mutations result from random errors created during the cell cycle. A person's diet does not cause these faults, the chemicals they are exposed to, or their DNA.

"We hope that this research offers comfort to the literally millions of patients who have had cancer but who have lived nearly perfect lifestyle — who have never smoked, who have avoided the sun … who exercise regularly,” Dr. Bert Vogelstein of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center said at a news conference.

"It's not your fault. Nothing you did or didn't do was responsible for your illness."

According to their research, there are three key contributors to the development of cancer:

  1. Inherited genetic alterations, such as those that can develop in the BRCA genes, account for about 5 percent of all cancer cases. These modifications are referred to as "H" mutations.
  2. Mutations induced by the environment, such as smoking, eating, exercise, and sun exposure, as well as elements beyond an individual's control, such as pollutants in the water supply; scientists define the environment as these activities. Vogelstein and Tomasetti have designated these variants as "E."
  3. Mutations resulting from the cell division process. Replicating a cell's genetic information is required for cell division; nevertheless, this process is not error-free. These mutations are designated as "R."



Dr. Bert Vogelstein went on to say that every time a cell divides it makes mistakes. Most of the time these mutations don’t do any harm, although occasionally, they occur in a cancer driver gene. That’s bad luck.

Every type of cancer can generally be caused by any of these three causes, and for cancer to develop and spread, cells must have more than one mutation.

They stand by their findings, which indicate that random mutations play a role in about two-thirds of cancer cases across 32 different types. The journal Science published their findings.

“Two-thirds of mutations in cancer are due to (random mutation),” Dr. Cristian Tomasetti told reporters. “It does not say at all that two-thirds of cancer cases are due to (random mutations).”



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