Podcast: Early Detection or Prevention

Welcome! and Thank you for listening.

Telomeres are the end caps on DNA that protect it from unraveling.  They can be measure in white blood cells to determine their length.  The shorter they become, the more likely for the DNA to start to develop errors.  This leads to failure of the bodies organs and functions i.e. aging.  It has recently been linked to the risk of developing heart failure.  

There is another blood test that looks for DNA fragments in the plasma of the blood that is associated with colon cancer.  Detecting advanced cancers is pretty good.  It is not so good at detecting early treatable cancers.  It is just a blood test.  However, it is not perfect so what will you do with the results.  

If a breast cancer tumor expresses estrogen receptors then inhibiting estrogen should decrease the cancer growth.  How much is enough? 

All of the above sound like reasonable tests and solutions.  But do they prolong survival ?  Very few studies actually look at overall survival resulting from an intervention.  They look at disease free survival, or tumor regression, or ability to diagnosis a cancer.  It seems as though a diagnosis could lead to more rapid treatment or more aggressive treatment would lead to a better outcome.  But what are the downsides of a therapy or early diagnosis that might ultimately lead to side effects that shorten lifespan or decrease quality of lifespan.  

Doing something and being aggressive are seen as positive interventions.  Why don’t we view lifestyle changes in the same way?

Aerobic exercise and strength training positively affects muscle mass, mitochondrial function, mental well being, and lifespan with very few side effects.  If you are interested in learning how you can positively affect your healthspan, check out our websites at

Email me with questions at

A Cell-free DNA Blood-Based Test for Colorectal Cancer screening.  NEJM March 14, 2024. p 973. cleanwaterforsophie for discounts

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