Putting cancer risk in perspective: Random errors in DNA replication bigger factor than diet, lifestyle choices

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Eating Healthy and Working Out

[Editor’s note: Jayson Lusk is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University.]

[E]ven if you eat well all the time, are you guaranteed to be free of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes?  Far from it according to two recent studies.

The first was published Friday [March 24, 2017] in Science…. When discussing the things that can cause cancer, causes normally fall into one of two broad categories: nature (environmental factors) or nurture (inherited genetic factors). These authors, however, point to a third factor: as we grow, our cells naturally replicate themselves, and in the process, unavoidable DNA replication errors occur which ultimately lead to cancer. The authors calculate that these replication errors or

“mutations are responsible for two-thirds of the mutations in human cancers.”

Secondly, I ran across this interesting paper published [March 2017] in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

[According to the study,] 54.6% of deaths from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes seems to be caused by something other than diet.

Why does all this matter?  Because these statistics help us understand the impacts of dietary and lifestyle changes.

[E]ven if you could completely eliminate the cancer risk from diet and lifestyle factors, you’d go from a 0.45% chance of getting a new cancer to a 0.30% chance, a reduction of 0.15 percentage points.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Does a good diet guarantee good health?

For more background on the Genetic Literacy Project, read GLP on Wikipedia

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