News & Perspectives

Cancer: Nature or Nurture?
Environmental and lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, infections, and exposure to chemicals and radiation cause about twice as many cancers as hereditary factors.

That's the conclusion of a major new study from Sweden of nearly 45,000 pairs of twins.

Scientists found that one's environment plays a principal role in causing most common types of cancer. Prostate and colon cancers, however, had relatively strong genetic links. (New England Journal of Medicine, 7/13/00)

This large and rigorous study highlights the importance of taking preventive measures, such as eating well, stopping smoking and avoiding environmental toxins, to help protect against cancer.

Date Published: 08/11/2000
> Printer-friendly Version Return to Top