This is a question often asked by cancer patients and sufferers of other deliberating diseases. Does the condition run in the family, is it hereditary – are genes responsible?
The next question is then did they try hard enough to avoid known risks such as smoking, too much sun exposure or is an unhealthy diet or a sedentary life style to blame?
What about people that have done everything possible to avoid cancer and other conditions either related to aging or exposure to toxins and environmental hazards.
New research suggests that random chance plays a large part in the process, when healthy cells make mistakes, when random copying errors occur. Gene mutation can cause cancer – what causes the mutations?
Most scientists agree that damage is caused by environmental factors, an assault to our DNA from the world around us and the exposure to cigarette smoke, over exposure of UV light from the sun and other forms of radiation, certain hormones, viruses, an unhealthy diet, obesity and lack of exercise.
The damaged cells then copy themselves, allowing important mutations to gradually build up over time. This is one of the reasons that the risk of cancer increases with age.