The debate about whether getting cancer comes down to plain “bad luck,” began a few years ago. A publication attempted to explain the role of spontaneous and random cell mutations as the cause of certain cancers.

The conclusion wasn’t that most cancers were caused by bad luck. Instead, the research showed cancer risk is higher in instances when cells divide more frequently and often mutate by chance. Essentially, the publication spelled out why some people are more likely to develop certain kinds of cancers, not how at risk you are for a cancer of any kind.

How cancer starts

Cancer develops from a gradual accumulation of gene mutations, which eventually spark the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. As to where cell mutations originate, two sources are known: Carcinogens in the environment and mutated genes passed down by your parents.

Environmental causes of cancer

These include:

  • Chemicals in cigarette smoke can elevate your risk of lung cancer by as much as 30 times!
  • Excessive sun exposure.
  • Heavy alcohol use.
  • Obesity.

Prostate and breast cancers are also linked to environmental factors.

Hereditary cancers

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer can be caused by an abnormal gene, which is passed among generations. This is often referred to as inherited cancer, but the abnormal gene is what’s inherited, not the cancer itself. Only about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers result directly from gene defects (called mutations) inherited from a parent.  

Some inherited cancers include Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome (HBOC), fallopian tube cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, male breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. 

Advanced cancer care is close to home

If you have a family history of cancer or have been diagnosed with a form of the disease, know that personalized yet advanced therapies, including cancer surgery in Central Jersey, are here to help you win the fight. The team at Regional Cancer Care Associates’ Central Jersey Division is right where you need us. We offer six locations to make accessing world-class cancer care as convenient and hassle-free as possible.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 888-824-8312, or click here to find a location near you.

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