Genetics vs Epigenetics: Beyond Pre-Determinism

By Michael Gaeta | May 12, 2015

One evening many years ago, as I was driving from Kew Gardens to Syosset to teach a class in Chinese medicine theory at my alma mater, the New York College of Health Professions, I was listening to National Public Radio. The interviewer was speaking with the head of the Department of Oncology (cancer) at Stonybrook University Hospital. He asked, “Isn’t cancer genetic? Don’t you get cancer because it’s in your genes to get it?” Much to his surprise, the oncologist replied, “5-10% of cancer is genetic. The rest is lifestyle choices.” There was a rare moment of talk radio silence as the stunned interviewer absorbed what he just heard, from a remarkably credible source. He even asked the good doctor to repeat what he had just said, so shocking were its implications.

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