Bionic Beat v11: Cancer Risk

Bionic Beat v11: Cancer Risk

July 5, 2024
Jared Pelo
Jared Pelo
Chief Medical Officer
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Bionic Beat v11: Cancer Risk

Understanding Cancer: A Diverse Family of Diseases

Most all of us have been affected by cancer. Either we have had it, we have a loved one who has had it or we know someone who has had it. This newsletter I want to make sure we all understand what cancer is. How we need to think about it properly so we know how to screen for it and live in a way so it’s less likely we get it.

What Exactly is Cancer?

Cancer isn't a single disease, but a group of related conditions where cells grow uncontrollably due to DNA damage. This abnormal growth can form tumors, either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to other body parts, a process called metastasis.

With over 200 types of cancer, each has its own characteristics, risk factors, and treatment needs. This diversity emphasizes the importance of tailored approaches to prevention, screening, and treatment. Understanding cancer as a family of diseases helps us appreciate the complexity of cancer care and the need for personalized strategies.

Check out this video on Khan Academy describing how cancer starts.  

Here is a good article about the war on cancer- The ‘war on cancer’ isn’t yet won (nature.com)

Strategy 1- Cancer found early is easier to cure.  

It’s clear that how easily you can overcome cancer depends primarily on what stage the cancer is at when found. If it’s stage 1 cancer, meaning it’s localized and small, it’s almost always curable. Therefore, we want to guide each person to get screened appropriately with typical guidelines and for more advanced cancer screening (like full body MRI and liquid biopsy technology). Your job as a patient is to follow the typical guidelines, and work with a knowledgeable expert physician  

Check out typical cancer screening guidelines here  

Cancer Screenings and Prevention - Screenings by Age Group (preventcancer.org)

Check out this video from Dr Pelo speaking about full body MRI and liquid biopsies and what people should know before getting these done.

Strategy 2- Cultivate a cancer-resistant lifestyle

For decades, we have known that lifestyle choices significantly impact cancer risk. While smoking is the most notorious cancer-causing habit, it's not the only one. Excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, metabolic disorders, and a sedentary lifestyle all increase cancer risk for several types.

To build a cancer-resistant lifestyle:
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Protect your skin from sun damage
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Manage stress
  • Keep up with recommended screenings

By incorporating these habits, you're not just reducing cancer risk – you're promoting overall health.

Check out this article and paper which talks about how up to half of cancer deaths can be prevented by lifestyle. Can a healthy lifestyle prevent cancer? | ScienceDaily

Here is a video from Peter Attia and Rhonda Patrick talking about how exercise decreases your risk of cancer death.

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