How Does Telomere Shortening Relate to Cancer Development?

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Telomeres tell board-certified physician Dr. Avi Ishaaya how your cells are aging. Ideally, we want these telomeres to be strong and healthy so that they can fight any mutations or degeneration. Your cells are made of shelterin, which are proteins that work to prevent your DNA sequence from being damaged. While telomere shortening is normal with age, it can accelerate because of certain medical disorders or conditions.

With telomere testing at Dr. Avi Ishaaya Centers, Dr. Ishaaya can analyze any chromosomal changes that can lead to health problems and a shorter life. Shorter telomeres can also tell him when you’re more susceptible to developing health conditions or diseases, such as cancer. During a consultation at his Los Angeles, CA office, we can conduct telomere testing to determine if you have healthy DNA. During a one-on-one consultation, he can answer why are telomeres important, and explain the correlation between telomere length and cancer, so patients understand the importance of this testing.

Why are telomeres important?

Telomeres have three main purposes, including:

  1. Arranging all 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell

  2. Ensuring there is correct replication of chromosomes when cells divide

  3. Forming a protective cap at the ends of all chromosomes

Ultimately, every cell that divides will shorten. Since the ends are protected by telomeres, the only part of the chromosomes that loses any base is the end of the telomere, and the DNA is left intact. Without the telomeres, we would lose essential parts of our chromosomes every time we replicate our DNA.

Understanding telomere shortening

Telomere shortening occurs because of poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, living a sedentary life, or being overweight or obese. All of these things can lead to a shorter life expectancy. When your telomeres shorten, it tells your cells to regenerate less healthy ones and to produce mutations that can lead to the development of cancer. Genetics and stress are two of the main causes of telomere shortening. When we are exposed to chronic stress, our health is affected dramatically, leading to reduced telomere length.

Different symptoms are experienced when telomere shortening occurs. This is what makes telomere testing so important for all patients in Los Angeles, CA. Telomere length testing allows Dr. Ishaaya to diagnose and treat certain diseases or disorders that are caused by shortened telomeres.

Telomere shortening and cancer

Cancer is a fast and uncontrolled cell division, which is caused by telomere shortening. Telomerase is active in cancer cells and allows these cells to grow quickly and replicate continuously. Agents that can inhibit telomerase could stop cancer cells from continuing to grow. By detecting telomere shortening, Dr. Ishaaya can determine the likelihood someone may develop cancer and recommend lifestyle changes that may change that outcome.

How does telomere testing work?

A telomere test is a blood or cheek swab test, usually conducted annually. This allows Dr. Ishaaya to compare results and re-examine lifestyle changes to see if they’re helping a patient’s health. This also gives us a baseline to make treatment suggestions that help improve your health and will give you information on if your telomeres are healthy.

How can I strengthen my telomeres?

Our goal is to slow down any shortening patients’ experience in Los Angeles, CA. This is achieved with a healthy diet and lifestyle changes, including:

  • Getting proper rest

  • Quitting smoking

  • Losing weight

  • Exercising regularly

  • Reducing stress

  • Having regular annual visits

At Dr. Avi Ishaaya Centers, we can determine how to best help you strengthen your telomeres, which can help keep cancer and other serious medical issues at bay.

How telomere testing improves your health and increases your life expectancy

Telomere testing allows Dr. Avi Ishaaya to look closely at your DNA to learn how you are aging and how likely it is you will develop cancer in the future. At our Los Angeles, CA office, we focus on your telomere length and slowing down telomere shortening, which can help reduce cancer development. If you’re interested in improving your health, call Dr. Avi Ishaaya Centers to schedule a consultation to learn more about telomere testing.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.