A recent study in Sweden confirms a theory that many doctors have had for years. The study identified one of the primary factors in determining whether or not you'll get cancer as an adult. What is it? It's where you grew up as a child. Culture, dietary habits and environmental factors specific to the region you are raised in seem to prime your body for how it will react in the years to come.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute carried out two long-term studies comparing the risks of developing cancer among first and second generation Swedes.
In the first study, they found that among people who had moved to Sweden at the ages of 20-30 years, most of them went on to develop cancer at rates and types that closely matched their native land, and not those statistics of their new country. This lead them to believe that the factors influencing these people while they are growing up must have a significant impact on their body's tendency to develop cancer in their older years.
The second study followed the children of the people in the first study. Their rate of cancer showed that in most cases, these people had adopted the "native" Swedish rate of cancer and types of cancer, further showing that since they grew up in Sweden they would have been exposed to diet, culture and environmental habits which left them predisposed to follow their native country's history of cancer.
Fifteen common forms of cancer have been studied. Of these, only thyroid cancer turned out to be clearly correlated with close blood relations.
Cancers of the endocrine glands, testicles, breast, cervix and intestines as well as melanoma exhibited some genetic influence, whereas stomach cancer and leukemia showed hardly any genetic background.
The complete report on the two studies can be found in three different articles appearing in the May edition of the International Journal of Cancer.
Source: The Times London