Bad Science – Cancer and Fate (contd)

Before we fully draw a line under the previous blog entries on the news item about cancer and fate (initial post, first follow up, second follow up), I came across an interesting blog post about this very subject.

On a blog post titled “Bad Science: Fated to Get Cancer?” (which is well worth reading) the following conclusions are drawn:


These kinds of studies may lead to confusing results. We can go back and forth on this all day depending on our interpretation, but ultimately it is the experiment and conclusions drawn are flawed from the get-go. We need to be cautious of our source of information and not let these press releases do more damage than good when their results are not scientifically sound.

* A note on “fate”: Simply because something is unknown, does not mean it is due to fate or chance. There are many phenomena that we do not quite understand completely and tumorigenesis is one of them. Many things that used to be considered fate or luck now have scientific explanations. Take, for instance, the people who can have repeated unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV+ partner without acquiring the virus (akin to not developing cancer despite smoking). An uninformed observer would say that these people are not fated to get AIDS. However, in reality, these many of these people are descendants from survivors of the Bubonic Plague in Europe. The disease selected for a genetic polymorphism that made some people resistant to viral infection and this allele remains today. I suspect that the susceptibility of some people (the 10) over others (the 89) will soon become clear in time with a biologic rational rather than pure fate.

Hopefully this will be the last of it. We are all right 🙂