Researchers have discovered changes in DNA that can predict cancer 10 years in advance. These changes doctors look for are the shortening of telomeres within the blood cells. Telomeres are part of the cell that affects how they age. The key factor is that they stay the same length for as long as possible since they protect genetic material from being damaged.
Researchers from Harvard and Northwestern Medicine are able to predict when the telomeres shorten but stay the same length for a period of time before the cancer becomes widespread in the body. Scientists did have trouble understanding how the telomeres in the blood cells were able to change in a person that has cancer.
Researchers looked at the telomeres length in 792 people over a 13 year period. Out of this number, 135 people developed cancer. The telomeres were short enough to appear to be 15 years older in the cancer patients then the people that did not develop cancer. Once the telomeres shortened, they stayed the same length for a period of three to four years before the cancer was diagnosed and took over the telomeres.
Lifang Hou, who is a Professor of Preventative Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL., states that understanding the telomere growth may be the clue to preventing cancer. She also stated that there is a strong relationship between the telomeres and many cancers. Testing these telomeres can lead to early detection.
As we age, our cells are divided multiple times. This causes the telomeres to become shorter. Researchers believe this shortening with age could lead to cancer. Cancer is able to overtake the short telomere cells so that it can expand and divide. The cells are then shortened so the cancer reproduce clones of itself.
For healthier telomeres, it is important to take active measures as soon as possible. Dr. Isaac Eliaz, an integrative medical doctor, founder and director of the Amitabha Medical Clinic in Santa Rosa, CA., states that you should increase your intake of raw fruits and vegetables to help the telomeres stay larger for a longer period of time. Increasing your intake of Vitamin C along with getting regular exercise will also help. This can decrease the shortening of the telomeres by 62%. Adding in more vitamin B12 and B9 will help aid in keeping the DNA protected.
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