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Researchers: Primary cause of cancer is 'bad luck'

For decades, researchers have worked to determine the causes behind a wide variety of mysterious cancers in an effort to prevent them before they occur. And while genetic factors and lifestyle choices certainly play a part in a person's overall health, a new study suggests that many cancers can be linked to a different force: bad luck.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University studied 31 types of cancer in an effort to determine their causes. Nine of the cancers in the study were linked to genetic traits or lifestyle choices; the remaining 22 were simply "bad luck" — a mistake in cell division that's entirely outside a person's control.

With so many cancers proving to be non-preventable, the Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that doctors shift their emphasis away from preventative measures and toward "finding ways to detect such cancers at early, curable stages."