Press Release - 90% of Cancers Down to Environmental Factors

PRESS RELEASE: for immediate release
Latest Research Supports View That Most
Cancers Are Triggered by Environmental Factors
A study published in the Journal, Nature, today rebuts theories that
cancers are just down to ‘bad luck’ and supports the view that the
majority of cancers are triggered by external factors such as
environmental contaminants, and lifestyle choices.
A team of researchers at Stony Brook University in New York used different
mathematical models, epidemiological data and patterns in the mutation
associated with certain cancers to calculate the contribution of environmental
factors to cancer. They established that intrinsic factors, i.e. stem cell division,
contribute “only modestly” (between 10 and 30%) to cancer development and
rarely build up to a point of producing cancer and concluded that cancer risk is
“heavily influenced” by extrinsic or external factors such as our environments
and lifestyles.
The research supports the argument that far more could be done to prevent
cancer and that cancer strategies must focus not just on early diagnosis and
treatment but on removing as many external triggers as possible.
Lynn Ladbrook, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer UK said, “This study quashes
the theory that getting cancer is just down to bad luck and upholds the view
that a large number of cancers are preventable. To date, cancer strategies
have marginalised prevention to lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol
consumption and physical exercise. This study confirms what Breast Cancer UK
has recognised all along - that environmental factors such as exposure to toxic
chemicals are also a key risk factor for certain cancers and therefore should
form part of any cancer prevention strategy.
In our response to the Independent Cancer task force, we called for a cancer
strategy that prioritises the primary prevention of cancer that is based upon a
comprehensive understanding of all of the causes of cancer, goes beyond
lifestyle and genetics and acknowledges the role of harmful chemicals. This
study corroborates the needs for such an approach and it is vital if we are to
prevent the shocking statistic that half of us will get cancer at some point in
lives from becoming a reality.”
Breast Cancer UK work to raise awareness of the environmental and chemical
causes of breast cancer and provide advice on how women can reduce their
exposure to harmful chemicals which might increase their risk of developing
the disease.
For further information press contacts:
Lynn Ladbrook, Chief Executive - 07786 393181
Louise Bowers, Communications Manager - 07930 854 527
Notes to Editors
1. View full report in the journal, Nature, here:
Further reading:
2. Breast Cancer UK works to save lives and reduce breast cancer rates by
tackling the environmental and chemical causes of the disease.
For more information on how to reduce your risk of chemical exposure,
or how harmful chemicals are linked to breast cancer please visit our
Facebook: breastcanceruk
Twitter: @BreastCancer_UK
3. Breast Cancer UK’s submission to the Cancer strategy
4. Breast Cancer UK response to the cancer is bad luck story
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