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9 in 10 cancers caused by lifestyle, not genes

Gorkha Post



NEW YORK — A new study has claimed that an environmental and external factors, such as, smoking, drinking, sun and air pollution may account for up to nine out of 10 cancers.

It was earlier believed that irregular cell mutations played a significant role in the development of tumors, researchers said.

However, scientists at the Stony Brook University in New York now believe that outside influences have a far greater impact, meaning many cancers may be more preventable than previously thought.

According to the new research, nearly 75 per cent of the risk of colorectal cancer is now believed to be due to diet.

As many as 86 per cent of the risk of skin cancer is dueto sun exposure while 75 per cent of chance of developing head and neck cancers is because of tobacco and alcohol, researchers said.

The researchers said that cancer incidence is far too high to be explained away by simple mutations in cell division, ‘The Telegraph’ reported.

“Here we provide evidence that intrinsic risk factors contribute only modestly to cancer development. The rates of mutation accumulation by intrinsic processes are not sufficient to account for the observed cancer risks,” said Yusuf Hannun of Stony Brook University.

The researchers looked at previous studies which have shown how immigrants moving from low cancer incidence to countries with high cancer incidence soon develop the same tumour rates, suggesting the risks are environmental rather than biological or genetic.

“For many common types of cancer, this study concludes that at least 70 percent to 90 percent of the cancers are due to external risk factors roughly speaking, that 70 percent to 90 percent would not occur if we could magic away all the risk factors,” said Kevin McConway from the Open University in the UK.

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Although some rare cancers can be driven by genetic mutations, the most prevalent diseases are down to environmental factors, researchers said, adding that it is important that these ‘extrinsic’ factors are taken into account in cancer prevention and research.

The finding is likely to prove controversial as it suggests that people could slash their risk of ever getting cancer if they just made lifestyle changes such as keeping out of the sun, exercising or cutting down on cigarettes, researchers said.

The findings were published in the journal Nature.


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Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk

IANS Indo Asian News Service




Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk. Representational Image

NEW YORK — People who are suffering from urinary or respiratory tract infections may face nearly double the risk of heart attacks and strokes than obesity, researchers have warned.

The study — led by a researcher of Indian origin — found that if the frequency of these common infections causing hospitalisation continues for a longer period it may even lead to death.

Patients diagnosed with any one of these common infections were three times more likely to die than those without prior infection after developing heart disease, and almost twice as likely to die if they had a stroke.

“Our figures suggest that those who are admitted to hospital with a respiratory or urinary tract infection are 40 per cent more likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, and 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke, than patients who have had no such infection, and are considerably less likely to survive from these conditions,” Rahul Potluri, researcher at Britain’s Aston University, said in a statement.

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The effects of the common infections were of similar magnitude among the people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol, researchers said.

“It is notable that infection appears to confer as much, if not more, of a risk for future heart disease and stroke as very well established risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” Potluri added.

Researchers conducted the study over 34,027 patients who had been admitted with a urinary or respiratory tract infection with an age and sex-matched control group without infection.

Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, obesity and tobacco use, as well as medical conditions including excess cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation were also taken into account.

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