Cancer caused by bad lifestyle not 'bad luck' according to study
Nine out of ten cancers are due to poor lifestyle choices and environmental factors, according to new scientific study.
Smoking, drinking, air pollution and sun exposure are the external factors that increase the risk of cancer by 90 per cent.
Researchers from Stony Brook University found that 10 to 30 per cent of cancers are down to internal factors or ‘bad luck’.
The findings from this latest study clash with a previous report released earlier this year that said differences in cellular processes were the main reason tissues became cancerous more often than others.
The study led to claims that cancer was down to ‘bad luck’.
However this latest study states that external influences have more of an impact than previously thought.
The findings suggest that the risk of developing cancer could be slashed if an individual made certain lifestyle changes such as keeping out of the sun, exercising more or cutting out cigarettes.
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 researchers also looked at how immigration has an effect on cancer rates.
Previous studies have shown that those who moved from nations with low cancer rates to countries with a high incidence of cancer soon develop the same tumour rates as others in the county, suggesting that risks are environmental rather than genetic.
Certain cancers are now believed by scientists to be caused by external factors.
Over 75 per cent of the risk colorectal cancer is now said to be caused by diet while 86 per cent of the risk of skin cancer is due to sun exposure.
The new research also suggests that 75 per cent of head and neck cancers are due to tobacco and alcohol.
In Ireland, 30,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year.
The five most common cancers in Ireland are non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer and lung cancer.