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Cancer and Genes

​What causes Cancer?

Cancer is very common. Most cases of cancer occur by chance (sporadic) and can be caused by a range of different factors, such as lifestyle and the environment.

In Singapore, for example, lung cancer is common but it is often caused by exposure to tobacco smoke.

Of all cancers, approximately 5-10% are due to a hereditary cause. This is caused by a disruptive change in a gene.

What are Genes?

Genes are instructions in our body which are inherited from our parents. We have over 20,000 genes, and each gene has a specific function.

For example, some genes determine how we will look (eye colour, hair colour, height), while other genes protect us from certain diseases.

As we inherit our genes from our parents and pass them onto our children, our family members may share similar traits.