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C. The Biggest Risk Determinant in Cancer

Narrator: This is Science Today. It's estimated that baby boomers are twice as likely to get cancer as their grandparents were. There are several reasons why, including the exposure to more carcinogens. But cell biologist Mina Bissell, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory says it's also because people are living longer than before.

Bissell: The aging process is the biggest risk determinant in cancer. Every two years of additional living, you are going to be increasing cancer by a whole lot.

Narrator: Bissell says the amazing this is we do as well as we do.

Bissell: You see people say, oh, cancer is so rampant and my statement is it's not so at all. You have billions of cells in your body. Imagine, any one of them, if it was one single gene that could go wrong, you would be walking around with tumors all over you and you don't. I mean, the event is actually quite rare and the question of aging and its importance in cancer is something very important that we need to think about.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.