If you live long enough, you get cancer. But without our mutating, blundering cells, we’d never have made it out of the primordial soup…

Bob Weinberg of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been one of the world’s foremost experts on cancer for nearly five decades. Back when I was a wee graduate student, I lunched with Dr Weinberg at a conference and he told me something that stuck with me: “If you live long enough, you will get cancer.”

The inevitability of cancer has made itself painfully clear over the past century. As mortality from almost all other causes has plummeted, cancer rates have skyrocketed. While there is good reason to believe that some aspects of modern lifestyle and diet also contribute, the bulk of the rise in cancer is simply because we are no longer dying from so many other things.

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