Posted by: 2in10 | 04/08/2011

why aren’t we…?

In the April 4, 2011 Boston Globe g-force magazine, Karen Weintraub interviews Dr. Judy Garber in “Fighting thte War on Cancer.” Garber is the new president of the American Association for Cancer Research, “the foremost professional organization for cancer scientists.” She is director of the center for genetics and prevention at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

In the Q&A, Weintraub asks, “So, now that we know so much about genes and behavior, why aren’t we curing or preventing more cancers?”

Good question.

Garber’s answer: “Changing behavior turns out to be a whole lot harder than figuring out which molecule interferes with which gene. It’s not that people don’t want to, it’s just very hard to do. Patients always ask me: Isn’t there going to be a way to fix that gene? That’s going to take a while.”

But changing our own behavior can happen quickly and benefits us directly. While Garber’s work involves genetic predispositions for cancer, she states that lifestyle matters. She points out that current generations eat differently from their grandmothers and great-grandmothers. We get our periods at earlier ages, we have our children later, we are better nourished. Genes are not completely your destiny, she says.

Amen. Do what you can to get well and stay well whether or not cancer has touched your life directly.



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