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Cancer – Young and Healthy Diagnosis

Sanjay Juneja, MD Sanjay Juneja, MD February 1, 2021
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Transcript

"So one of the most difficult things with the cancer diagnosis is when somebody comes and they're young, right? And they don't smoke and they're healthy and they eat well. And the question is, how could this happen? Is it inherited? Or, I don't have a family history. How could I have cancer? Cancer occurs when there's errors in coding when your regular cells are replicating. Usually it takes a long period of time, and enough mutations to happen over that period of time, to cause cancers, which is why it generally happens when you're older. The hardest thing is when it happened to some increased frequency, for whatever reason, in a shorter amount of time. So people that are in their twenties and thirties. There are certainly things that increase your chance of mutations happening that are bad ones, like smoking. We know that if you smoke, that increases your chance of cancer in multiple organs, because it kind of invites those mutations to occur.

That does not mean that those mutations don't occur when you don't smoke. And that's, what's difficult and challenging is that there are instances where a sporadic mutation happens in your lifetime that wasn't what we call germline. It wasn't passed from your mom and dad's like, you know, DNA that was given to you. And it's also not something that's due to your own behavioral things, meaning skin cancer, if you're out in the sun all the time, somebody may say, well, you should have known better. Well, people are in the sun all the time and don't get skin cancer. So it's all what we call multifactorial. But the hardest thing is those instances where that mutation or turnover just happens, without you eating red meats, or drinking alcohol or smoking, which we know are somewhat increasing your chance at certain kinds of cancers."

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