We All Have Cancer, But How Much?

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Interviewer: I mean a lot of doctors that we talk to say, when we talk about cancer they say if you live long enough, you're going to get some form of cancer.  Is there a connection between that and the shortening of telomeres?Are those two connected?

Dr. Park: Oh yeah.  

Interviewer: Getting cancer and...

Dr. Park: Definitely.  It's a truism.  So really, I like the car analogy, because people get that.  So if you drive a car off the lot, and go 800,000 miles, you're going to expect to have to change the plugs, 

Interviewer: Mm-hmm

Dr. Park: ....the carburetor, you know, whatever, the exhaust.Just so if you could survive every disease, eventually you'd collect them all, you know?  

Interviewer: Mm.

Dr. Park: If you live to 400 you're probably going to get prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer.  And again, it's the same process. The erosion of the telomeres allows for critical shortening and then the DNA gets jumbled. And once it gets jumbled, you have the potential for cancer.  You also have the potential for that self killing itself, too.  So a lot of people think cancer is very robust. But It probably is created many times in your life. 

Q: Mm-hmm.

A:  That'd be an interesting number to know whether you'd have cancer once, a million times, a billion times.  Because it's really only the cancers that persist and are not self-destructive or destroyed and that we can't officially kill off that we consider to be cancer.


Dr. Ed Park discusses cancer and how it is potentially related to the erosion of telomeres. It's likely something we all have, possibly at many times throughout our life. But certainly not all of it is life threatening. What is the difference and how many times do we actually get cancer? That's what is discussed in this video.

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