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(Natural News) No one would argue that getting cancer is a stroke of bad luck — but is that really the only cause? Researchers from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have recently claimed that errors in DNA copying occur “at random.” The team alleges that despite the long-standing belief that cancer is often due to lifestyle or dietary habits, up to two-thirds of all cancer cases are caused by nothing more than random mistakes in DNA copying. But are these mistakes really all that random?

Only a very small number of cancers — about 5 percent — are due to faulty inherited genes. Past research has indicated that up to 90 percent of all cancer cases can be attributed to diet, lifestyle and other environmental factors, but this new study stands to contradict previous findings. While the team found that most lung cancers were caused by things like smoking, the Johns Hopkins team found that up to 95 percent of prostate, bone and brain cancers were caused purely by “DNA copying errors.”

Overall, the team claims that 66 percent of all cancers are caused by so-called copying errors and just 29 percent of cancers are caused by lifestyle — a stark contrast to past research.

Does diet play a hidden role?

Past studies have found that cancer risk is not solely dependent on what you yourself eat. Indeed, what you eat over the course of your life does not just affect your own health, but also that of your children, and your children’s children. This would suggest that in order to truly calculate the “randomness” of these DNA copying errors, researchers would not just need to look at the DNA and lifestyle habits of a single subject, but also the DNA and lifestyle habits of that subject’s parents and grandparents.

In other words, what appears to be a “random error” in copying could be anything but. As Leslie A. Pray, Ph.D., explains, errors in replication occur on a fairly frequent basis. These errors are normally repaired after the replication phase, during a process called “mismatch repair.” Copying mistakes that are not identified and corrected during this process go on to become mutations.  Pray explains that these so-called random mistakes are caused by chemical reactions within the cells.

Epigenetics, nutrition and cancer

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