What is the connection between cancer incidence and the environment? What is the relative role of nature versus nurture, or genetic inheritance or environmental milieu, in cancer incidence? While both factors play an important, often perversely synergistic role in the development of cancer, approximately two-thirds of all cancer occurrences are related to environmental factors. The percentage of cancer cases attributed to environmental factors would be even higher were modifiable lifestyle choices included. What are the two major environmental culprits? Tobacco smoking and food consumption. More than half of all cancers are linked to a history of smoking tobacco or obesity (from a combination of food consumption and a sedentary lifestyle). Other environmental exposures (e.g., to metals and industrial chemicals in the environment) can cause certain ...

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