ARE YOUR SHORT TELOMERES PUTTING YOU AT INCREASED RISK OF CANCER?
For those of you scratching your heads trying to figure out if I just insulted some part of your anatomy, in 1961, Dr. Hayflick determined that a cell can only divided a certain number of times. It was later decided that segments of DNA at the end of our chromosomes shorten each time a cell divides. These are called telomeres. The shorter the telomere, the shorter the remaining lifespan of that cell.
We have seen that things like stress shorten telomeres and that higher levels of healthy fats protect the telomeres. So, in this particular study, when we see that those with the shortest telomeres have more than triple the risk of getting cancer, it is no surprise. What this reaffirms is that our lifestyles determine our cancer risk. Genetics play a very small role in our risk of cancer.