A recent study has revealed that people living in cold climates are more likely to get cancer. The study that analysed a reliable global data base of cancer incidence, noted that Inuits have the highest rate of cancer, and Britain has three times higher rate of cancer rate than that of India and twice the rate of Thailand.
The study suggests that people living in the colder countries have a greater risk of the disease, because of their genes. The same genes which stop our cells from dying in freezing temperatures are also the ones linked to breast cancer, bowel cancer and leukaemia.
Dr Konstantinos Voskarides, an author of the study from the University of Cyprus' Medical School, said: "The findings of this study provide evidence that genetic variants found to be beneficial in extreme environments, can also predispose for cancer."
Dr Voskarides added: "Cell resistance at low temperatures and at high altitude probably increases the probability of malignancy."
Researchers came to the conclusion after carefully examining the most accurate and reliable data of worldwide cancer incidence -- the GLOBOCAN-2012 database, which shows a variety of incidence/prevalence analysis per country as well as cancer type.
Researchers observed a striking pattern while examining it, and it was found that the highest incidence of certain cancers was linked to populations living in the coldest environments.
"These data show that these populations exhibit extremely high cancer incidence, especially for lung, breast and colorectal cancer," said Voskarides.The genetic evidence was also very clear and highly significant.
"These findings could potentially change the way most clinicians and scientists think about the origins of cancer," Dr Voskarides told Medscape Medical News.
Results from the research indicate that "tumor suppressor genes may play a more important role than oncogenes in cancer development and could potentially provide a new therapeutic target," Dr Voskarides said.
The study was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.