NPR

Cancer Is Partly Caused By Bad Luck, Study Finds

Researchers have long known behavior, environment and genetics play a role in cancer. A study in Science finds luck is also a major factor. Nearly two-thirds of cancer mutations arise randomly.
Nearly two-thirds of cell mutations that cause cancer are caused by random error, a study found. Source: Steve Gschmeissner

Cancer can be caused by tobacco smoke or by an inherited trait, but new research finds that most of the mutations that lead to cancer crop up naturally.

The authors of the study published Thursday poked a hornet's nest by suggesting that many cancers are unavoidable.

The provocative findings by Bert Vogelstein and Cristian Tomasetti at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, have stirred up a heated scientific debate that started two years ago, when they

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
Imelda Causing 'Major, Catastrophic Flooding' In Southeast Texas, Forecasters Warn
Some parts of southeast Texas could see rain totals of 25 to 35 inches through Friday, the National Weather Service says.
NPR7 min read
Jon Pardi's Hyperactive Honky-Tonk Brings The Past Into The Present
Heartache Medication favors muscled-up guitars and booming drums, but reserves a place of honor for gutsy, tunefully expressive fiddle and steel solos.
NPR7 min readSociety
With Abortion Restrictions On The Rise, Some Women Induce Their Own
Activists are spreading information about self-induced abortion online and in person. The World Health Organization says a single drug, misoprostol, can be used to safely induce abortion.