A new study has revealed that unlike what is commonly known to cause cancer, other factors cause the same, but they are significantly ignored. Researchers have identified what they are referring to as Environmental and external factors that could be accountable for up to nine out of 10 cancers. These factors include smoking, drinking, sun exposure and air pollution alongside other lifestyle choices.
According to the researchers, cancer is an incidence that cannot just be wished away while at the same time it cannot be explained by simple mutations in cell division.
And to try and find the genetic causes of many uncommon diseases and cancers, the government has set up to 100,000 Genomes Project, which according to the new study may not be of much help to cancer sufferers.
Statistics from Cancer Research UK indicate that about 330,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year from which 161,000 die. But from the study, there is pretty convincing evidence to conclude that at least 70% to 90% of the cancers are due to external risk factors. Previous studies have made a majority of people believe that that random cell mutation played a substantial role in the growth of tumours.
However, Scientists tend to dispute this citing that outside stimuli have a far superior impact but at the same time, more cancers have now become preventable. But this is only possible if people reconsidered to have changes in their lifestyles, for example, keeping out of the sun, cutting down on their smoking habits and more importantly exercising.
According to research close to 75% risk of colorectal cancer is due to diet, 86% risk of skin cancer is due to sun exposure, and 75% risk of of developing neck and head cancers is due to alcohol and tobacco.
Well, there is no certainty that someone will develop cancer if for example they are exposed to the sun but there is a chance involved. Nevertheless, according to Prof Kevin McConway, Professor of Applied Statistics, The Open University, there is need to think beyond pure chance.
The study findings on the other hand do not have anything to do with cancer management apart from emphasizing that it is preventable. From the findings, there is nothing much to note about absolute risks of any given cancer.