Saturday, January 3, 2015

UK Health Radio - Medical News Update on the Hour - Many cancers are simply due to bad luck.

UK Health Radio - Medical News Update on the Hour

I read an interesting report from Jenny Hope who is a medical correspondent for the Daily Mail that has also been widely reported by the BBC.  It concerns the fact that most cancers are 'caused by bad luck - not lifestyle' with scientists claiming that 65% of cases of cancer are down to random mistakes in genes that we can do nothing about. In two out of three cases of cancer random mistakes in genes are to blame. This is a departure from the previous message where an unhealthy lifestyle was blamed in 30-40 per cent of cases. The study was carried out at John Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Brain tumours, head and neck and ovarian cancers are bad luck, while throat, lung and colon cancers are caused by lifestyle choices 

For two out of three cancer victims, the cumulative effect of random mistakes in genes are to blame for the disease rather than poor choices about how they lived their lives or what genetic make up they inherited from their parents.
Previously experts have estimated that 30-40 per cent of cancer cases would be avoided given a better lifestyle, but there has been no similar calculation about whether the remainder can be prevented.
Although lifestyle can add to the ‘bad luck’ factor for some specific cancers, the researchers call for more effort to go into early detection when surgery increases the chances of cure.
Almost 332,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in the UK in 2011.
The biggest risk factor for the disease is simply getting older - this is because there’s more time for the cells in our body to accumulate genetic damage.
Cancers caused by bad luck:
·       Brain tumour
·       Head and neck 
·       Thyroid 
·       Oesophageal
·       Lung
·       Bone
·       Liver
·       Pancreatic
·       Skin cancer (anywhere on the body)
·       Ovarian 
·       Testicular
Cancers caused by lifestyle:
·       Skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma)
·       Throat 
·       Thyroid
·       Lung (in smokers)
·       Liver
·       Colon 

Amanda Thomas
UK Health Radio - Medical News Update on the Hour
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