Getting Cancer Might Partly Be A Matter Of "Bad Luck"

Photographed by Jessica Nash.
Put on your sunscreen, don't microwave plastic, don't eat processed meats, exercise more, stop gaining weight. These are just a few of the many, many things we've been told to do to avoid getting cancer.
While there may be research backing some of these suggestions up, (a.k.a., please actually do wear sunscreen) new research finds that getting cancer might be at least partially just a matter of bad luck.
Advertisement
Researchers estimate that 66% of the genetic mutations that become cancer develop that way by random chance. They also estimate that 29% are from environmental factors (such as not wearing sunscreen) and 5% are inherited.
This isn't the first time researchers have suggested that we might have little control over whether or not we get cancer. In a previous study, scientists Cristian Tomasetti and Dr. Bert Vogelstein said that cancer risk is more about random DNA error than what precautionary measures a person does or does not take.
"Every time a perfectly normal cell divides, as you all know, it makes several mistakes -- mutations," Vogelstein said, according to CNN. "Now most of the time, these mutations don't do any harm. They occur in junk DNA, genes unrelated to cancer." But sometimes they happen in a gene that is related to cancer.
"That's bad luck," said Vogelstein, according to CNN.
It's not the most uplifting news, and we're sorry to say that there's nothing you can do about it. You can't control random gene mutations. What you can control (at least some of), though, is the 29% of mutations that happen because of environmental factors. Slather yourself with sunscreen, folks, get breast exams, and make sure to check in with your doctor.
Advertisement