A New Johns Hopkins Study Suggests DNA Errors And “Bad Luck” Are Responsible For Most Cancer Mutations


Science plays a huge role in cancer research, but its use has been limited. Researchers have avoided utilizing science to estimate the different forms of cancers that are linked to particular circumstances and what percentage of the cases would have occurred regardless of external factors. A new study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University dared to do what scientists have avoided for decades and the results are rather astonishing.


Lung Cancer Cell
Credit: National Institutes Of Health

The research entails finding the cause of genetic mutations that are linked to cancer and determining what influenced the outcome. The new study published in the journal Science suggests that 66 percent of genetic mutations that resulted in cancer had no direct cause and are actually random errors in DNA. Only 29 percent of cancers are linked to environmental factors, such as pollution, smoking, pesticides, ultraviolet radiation and metals. The remaining 5 percent are caused by inherited genetic factors.

According to the scientists, DNA mutations don’t have negative consequences, since they normally don’t occur in genes with cancer-causing ability. However, mutations that randomly occur in specific genes may result in cancer, but in most cases its simply bad luck.

The findings in this study will offer some peace of mind, since the findings show that cancer is most often a result of bad luck and less about environmental and lifestyle factors.

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