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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Friday, June 04, 2010

Cancer and Age: Why We May Face a Tradeoff Between Cancer Risk and Aging

It's long been clear that cancer is a disease of aging. While children and younger adults are of course afflicted by certain types of the disease, the vast majority of cases occur in people over 50. But from that simple observation, researchers are just beginning to tease out the intricate connections between the biological processes driving both the disease and the aging process. Though the research is in early days, they're discovering how the two may be linked, and even how the forces of evolution may have produced a tradeoff: the ability to protect against cancer at the expense of a faster aging.

Judith Campisi, a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Buck Institute for Age Research, sees the relationship two ways. First, she says, the same forces that damage our genes likely drive both cancer and aging. For example, oxidative stress, a type of DNA damage caused by free radicals and other molecules, has been associated with both processes, says Steven Austad, a biologist at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center. (Austad is also deputy director of research at the American Federation for Aging Research, which funds studies on aging and age-related diseases.) Any biological processes that protect against oxidative stress and other forms of DNA damage are "unequivocal good guys," says Campisi. "They protect against cancer, protect the genome, and protect longevity."

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