Screening of a different kind may be the best approach if the all-aneuploidy theory is correct. There are no known means of selectively killing cells with abnormal chromosomes. But a biopsy that turns up a surfeit of aneuploid cells might warrant careful monitoring or even preventive surgery in certain cases. And Duesberg suggests that foods, drugs and chemicals should be tested to identify compounds that cause aneuploidy.
One day science will produce a definitive answer to the question of what causes cancer. It will probably be a very complicated answer, and it may force us to shift our hope from drugs that cure the disease to medicines that prevent it. Even without a clear understanding of why, doctors have discovered that a daily baby aspirin seems to prevent colon adenomas in some adults. The effect is small. But it is a step from chemotherapy toward a better alternative: chemoprevention.
This article was originally published with the title Untangling the Roots of Cancer.