Random Cancers

New research from Johns Hopkins Medicine has found that a large number of cancers, in fact two-thirds of all cancers, are random – in other words, they’re the result of sheer bad luck.

These random cancers are caused by mutations that occur in genes that drive cancer growth. Though we know that the risk of cancer can increase or decrease through different lifestyle choices and environmental conditions, this study also shows that we can’t control all the factors that lead to cancer.

“This study shows that you can add to your risk of getting cancers by smoking or other poor lifestyle factors,” says Bert Vogelstein, M.D., Clayton Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “However, many forms of cancer are due largely to the bad luck of acquiring a mutation in a cancer driver gene regardless of lifestyle and heredity factors. The best way to eradicate these cancers will be through early detection, when they are still curable by surgery.”

Head and neck cancer falls into this category of random cancers, as well as basal cell carcinomas and melanomas. A full list can be found at the link at the bottom of the page.

While two-thirds of cancers may be more random than previously known, it’s also important to remember that the remaining third of all cancers are caused by factors that we can often control. Our personal choices will always impact our health.

For information on Johns Hopkins Medicine and this research, please visit http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/bad_luck_of_random_mutations_plays_predominant_role_in_cancer_study_shows