Study: As many as 90 percent of cancer cases are caused by lifestyle

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Study: As Many as 90 Percent of Cancer Cases Are Caused by Lifestyle

According to a new study, cancer risk may have more to do with lifestyle, not genetics, in as many as 90 percent of cases.

Most researchers agree cancer is likely caused by the body's stem cells dividing at uncontrollable rates. A study published in the journal Science back in January appeared to show two-thirds of cancer types were victims of bad luck, or chance mutations.

READ MORE: University of Texas study links meat to kidney cancer

But a new study, which included some of the same data as the January study, argues only as much as 30 percent of cancers fall under the so-called "bad luck hypothesis."

Instead, the main causes were found to be external. Causes include diet, alcohol and cigarette use, sunburns, viruses, pollution and more –– including some factors that haven't been identified yet.

Common foods suspected of causing cancer:

17 PHOTOS
Common foods suspected of causing cancer
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Study: As many as 90 percent of cancer cases are caused by lifestyle

Microwave popcorn

(Photo via Getty)

Soda

(Photo via Getty)

Non-organic fruit

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Processed meats

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Alcohol

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Farmed salmon

(Photo via Getty)

Refined sugars

(Photo via Getty)

Canned tomatoes 

(Photo via Getty)

Potato chips

(Photo via Getty)

Hydrogenated oils

(Photo via Getty)

Artificial sweeteners

(Photo via Getty)

Foods that are highly salted, pickled, or smoked

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Red meat

(Photo via Getty)

Highly processed white flours

(Photo via Shutterstock)

"Diet" or "Low Fat" anything

(Photo by Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

Genetically modified organisms (GMO's)

(Photo via Shutterstock)

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The director of Stony Brook Cancer Center, from the university that conducted the study, told the BBC if intrinsic risk is like Russian roulette, "... then maybe one in six will get cancer. Now, what a smoker does is add two or three more bullets to that revolver. And now, they pull the trigger."

The researchers noted in their paper at least nine other studies have shown evidence against the "bad luck hypothesis," but they say theirs is the first to quantitatively appraise the relative contribution of extrinsic factors.

The finding could significantly alter how cancer is both treated and prevented. But some say the overwhelming weight of extrinsic factors could cause a lot of fear.

"Are we in fear of what we eat? Do we step out the front door? ... Where do we draw the line?" a butcher told CNN in response to a World Health Organization report that processed meats can cause cancer.

The latest study was published in the journal Nature.

Celebrities who have survived cancer:

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Celebrity cancer survivors
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Study: As many as 90 percent of cancer cases are caused by lifestyle
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Former GMA anchor Joan Lunden revealed that she is battling breast cancer on 'Good Morning America,' 6/24/14, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Sandra Lee talks about being cancer free, on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 9/22/15, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ida Mae AStute/ABC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 21: (FILE PHOTO) Actor Robert De Niro attends a news conference March 21, 2002 in New York City. According to a spokesman, De Niro, 60, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but is expected to make a full recovery. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 1233 -- Pictured: (l-r) Musical guest Carly Simon performs on September 26, 1997 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BALDWIN, NY - OCTOBER 07: Actress Fran Drescher attends the Fourth Annual Breast Cancer Summit Honoring Fran Drescher at The Coral House on October 7, 2014 in Baldwin, New York. (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)
Cynthia Nixon during T. Schreiber Studio and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Honor Cynthia Nixon - Arrivals at 3 West Club in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 15: Rod Stewart performs at the Mandalay Bay Events Center for 'Rock for the Cure' at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on November 15, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jacob Andrzejczak/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Olivia Newton-John speaks to the media as she supports the Cancer & Wellness Centre by preparing to leading the way on a charitable walk at The Centre Ivanhoe on September 28, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. The walk aims to raise funds for the wellness and supportive care programs provided to patients. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
Edie Falco attends Super Saturday 13 to Benefit Ovarian Cancer Research Fund hosted by InStyle Magazine at Nova's Ark Project on July 31, 2010 in Water Mill, New York.
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