Emma Smith

Emma Smith

British Cancer Research Foundation Doctor
Country: Great Britain

  1. The Role of Lifestyle Factors in Cancer Development
  2. The Debate on the Role of Daily Habits in Cancer Development
  3. The Influence of Environment on Cancer Development

The Role of Lifestyle Factors in Cancer Development

Recently, the question of hereditary predisposition to cancer has been reevaluated, leading scientists to an encouraging conclusion. It is claimed that in 90% of cases, cancer can be avoided by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Scientists are now reconsidering the role of "bad" genes, once believed to be responsible for significantly increased chances of developing cancer. Recent studies suggest that the environment, diet, harmful habits, sun exposure, and various diseases play a much larger role in "igniting" cancer than direct DNA mutations. Dr. Emma Smith from the British Cancer Research Foundation stated, "Healthy habits such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, consuming nutritious food, and reducing alcohol consumption do not guarantee 100% protection against cancer. However, all of the mentioned factors significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer."

The Debate on the Role of Daily Habits in Cancer Development

Maintaining good health is a well-known piece of advice, but scientists continue to argue about the extent to which daily habits contribute to the development of cancer. In a heated debate that took place a year ago, scientists disputed the claim that most cases of cancer are caused by errors in DNA that occur randomly. It is believed that these DNA discrepancies are responsible for aging and unchecked cell division.

According to the old belief, cancer patients are simply unlucky, and an unhealthy lifestyle does not affect the situation. Previously, it was said that in two out of three cases of cancer, the cumulative effect of random errors in DNA, RNA, or proteins is to blame. However, recent studies have been conducted taking into account not only random mutations. Scientists have concluded that the high incidence of cancer cannot be explained solely by replication errors. Naturally, genetic code flaws pose a certain threat, but they do not fully clarify the situation regarding cancer development.

Dr. Yusuf Hannun from the State University of New York at Stony Brook stated that while an individual may be fortunate or unfortunate when it comes to genetic predisposition, the surrounding factors play a much more significant role. Special attention should be paid to nutrition, alcohol, cigarettes, excessive tanning, certain viruses, and environmental pollution. Additionally, scientists hope to expand their search and detect additional risk factors in the near future.

The Influence of Environment on Cancer Development

Previous studies have shown that people who move from areas with low cancer rates to less favorable places often become victims of the same types of cancer that are more common in adverse environments, rather than due to "bad" genes. Researchers have also studied mutation processes associated with certain types of cancer and found that mutations during cell division rarely lead to the formation of cancer, even in tissues with relatively high rates of cell division. At the same time, some negative environmental factors can trigger the formation of a cancerous tumor.

In the study discussed in this article, published in the journal Nature in early 2015, common types of cancer such as prostate, breast, stomach, and cervical cancer were not included. These types of cancer are often associated with ecological causes, so they were excluded to provide more accurate research results.

According to data from the British Cancer Research Foundation for 2012, approximately 339,000 new cases of cancer were registered that year, resulting in nearly 162,000 deaths caused by cancer.

The data presented in the journal "Nature" indicates that the genes inherited from our parents rarely become the cause of cancer development. This information should influence the further development of cancer prevention strategies, the course of subsequent research, and actions taken by the World Health Organization.

Dr. Jian-Min Yuan from the University of Pittsburgh concludes: "The study results show that the development of most cancer cases is determined by environmental factors and that cancer can be prevented if the underlying causes are identified."

However, Professor Kevin McConway from the Open University warns against premature celebration. He stated, "With their research, the authors wanted to show that the growth rate of cancer cases would stop if we could wave a magic wand and eliminate all possible external risk factors. But even then, cancer will not disappear due to cell division in the body. There will simply be fewer patients."