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Random Chance’s Role in Cancer
The New York Times

Unlike Ebola, flu or polio, cancer is a disease that arises from within — a consequence of the mutations that inevitably occur when one of our 50 trillion cells divides and copies its DNA.

Some of these genetic misprints are caused by outside agents, chemical or biological, especially in parts of the body — the skin, the lungs and the digestive tract — most exposed to the ravages of the world. But millions every second occur purely by chance — random, spontaneous glitches that may be the most pervasive carcinogen of all.

It’s a truth that grates against our deepest nature. That was clear earlier this month when a paper in Science on the prominent role of “bad luck” and cancer caused an outbreak of despair, outrage and, ultimately, disbelief.

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