Cancer Risks

Re "Real Risks of Cancer Are Not in Environment but in Ourselves," Commentary, June 8: Again we are presented with half the story. While a genetic disposition is an important part of the cause of cancer, we also know that it is only one factor. That, as they say in medical lingo, you get the second hit and that causes the mutated gene to become malignant. Many people are walking around with mutated genes and never develop cancer. The second hit comes from the environmental factors.

The simplistic approach of studying the effect of one factor in the environment does not address the problem of the synergistic effect of all these factors on individuals. It may well be that insecticides in and of themselves do not cause cancer, but combine them with exposure to microwaves and pesticides and just maybe we have a lethal combination.

WILLIAM ASH, Santa Monica

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