Genetics over environment, environment over genetics. Family history is typically gathered during a visit with your doctor. Doing so can identify increased risk for certain conditions. We’ve heard that genetics can plan a significant role in cancer; however, a recent study released by the International Weekly Journal of Science places greater emphasis on extrinsic risk factors when it comes to the development of cancer.
In analysis of incidences of varying types of cancer, the study concluded that “large risk proportions for cancer are attributable to changing environments”. Examples of these changes include smoking, pollution, sun exposure and poor diet.
This is likely not news to those even remotely familiar with the behaviors of cancer. While a study published earlier this year indicated some cancer diagnoses were due to “bad luck”, this recent study shows that our individual choices have a significant impact on our risk for developing cancer. I want to tell you about my friend Tom. Tom is 51 years old. Three days after he walked his daughter down the aisle, his family’s world fell apart. He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the bile duct. For those of you unfamiliar with where this falls on the spectrum of bad…it’s bad. I just learned that he will be lucky to make it to Christmas. Tom never smoked, was very active (he’s quite handy with a tractor), had the occasional beer and here he is with a death sentence. He’s a great man with a great family including one granddaughter on the way. The world is a better place because he was here, and when he leaves us, there will be a void that can never be filled.
Nobody deserves this, especially a man who lived his life the way Tom did. The bottom line: put down the cigarettes, pick up some SPF, hit the farmers’ markets and hope for the best. We are already here for an abbreviated time, don’t limit it further by partaking in careless, risky behaviors.