The “cancer–cold” hypothesis and possible extensions for the Nordic populations

Konstantinos Voskarides
  • Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, February 2019, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1403494819831905

Cold enhances cancer. Bad news for "cold" countries?

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

What is it about?

Previous data (in humans and animals) showed that mutations in cancer genes are beneficial for survival in extreme environmental conditions, like extreme cold. In this study I showed that the "cancer-cold" theory seems to be confirmed in Nordic countries since they exhibit the higher cancer incidence in the world.

Why is it important?

Countries with cold environments have to pay special attention at this phenomenon and at more effective cancer prevention strategies. Additionally, elucidation of this mechanism may contribute to future cancer therapeutic or intervention protocols.


Konstantinos Voskarides
University of Cyprus

Evolution and natural selection may have shaped high cancer incidence in humans. Mutations in cancer genes may be beneficial under certain environmental conditions but obviously they cause cancer later on age.

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