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What Causes Cancer? Avoidable Lifestyle Choices To Blame Over Genetics

First Posted: Dec 17, 2015 12:02 PM EST

The risk of cancer is thought to be caused from both genetic and environmental factors. Yet a new study suggests that most cancers are not likely "bad luck," but more the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, including poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking and/or drinking. 

New research published in the journal Nature found that between 70 and 90 percent of cancer cases are linked to avoidable lifestyle choices.

The study contradicts previous findings published in the journal Science earlier--suggesting that up to two-thirds of cancer were down to "bad luck." With the previous findings, researchers studied the interaction between stem cell divisions and cancer risk in various tissues, according to Fox News

These study results revealed that independent of lifestyle choices and known cancer risks, higher cell division rates increased cancer risks. In other words, stem cell division and the risk of cancer still existed regardless of lifestyle choices, according to CNBC. However, the study did note that poor lifestyle choices contributed to cancers like basal cell carcinoma, lung cancer and colon cancer--all of which might be explained by a combination of lifestyle choices, viruses, and/or a heightened family risk.

The new study re-examined the findings by analyzing cancer cell mutation patterns and other data. There, researchers at Stony Brook University in New York found that mutations that occurred during cell division rarely resulted in cancer--even during high rates of cell division.

More studies will be needed, but many researchers welcome the findings as a chance to push for cancer prevention efforts.

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