[00:01] Intro: Paul Roach, MD; Peter Schlagel, MD; Michael Riordan, Man of the People

[01:30] Short definitions of What is Cancer?

[04:30] Framing:  What is life?

[04:37] Shout out to Lex Fridman’s awesome Podcast- Thanks, Lex

[06:40] What is a Cell?

[07:15] Long definition of or exploration of “What is Cancer?”

[19:00] Mutations of cell signaling, growth, and, differentiation

[30:00] Detecting Cancer

[43:00] Tumor markers

[46:00] Hereditary mutations

[53:30] Genetic Testing & Counseling

[1:02:00] Genetic Signatures

[1:04:00] Smoking, Age, Obesity, Heredity

[1:10:00] The Basics

[1:12:00] Targeted Therapy

[1:16:50] Where cancer cells go wrong

[1:23:02] Benign versus Cancerous

[1:29:27] Summary and Closing











Key Takeaways:

“Life” as we know and accept it is the product of an intricately organized set of self-sustaining bio-chemical processes working harmoniously, with memory and the ability to carry-on over time and over new generations (Paul’s best crack at the question of “what is life?”).

Biological life is comprised of individual cells, which are extremely tiny and have three main parts:  cell membrane wall around it; cytoplasm filling it up; and a nucleus as the main office or command center of the cell containing the DNA / genetic code, which determines the structure and the behavior of the cells and the tissues. 

In life, that DNA/genetic code acquires (or sometimes is born with) “defects” or “mutations” which alter the shape, function, and behavior of the cell; some types of mutations [particularly those responsible for the processes/jobs of cell signaling, cell growth, and cellular differentiation] result in derangements and loss of proper cellular function —which brings its own set of problems— and also, aggressive behaviors of local invasion and distal metastasis —which, untreated, can produce organ system failure and death.

Normal cellular machinery is so complicated that there are 10,000 ways (my made up number) in which it can break down, which in short accounts for the great variability of ways in which cancer can evolve and manifest.

These multiple pathways make it impossible to treat with a “one size fits all” approach, but these days we’re learning how to identify and target with a variety of clever treatments many of those various pathways, and thereby individualize treatment to that specific, unique tumor.

Advice: Cancer happens, but to minimize your risk of cancer / advanced cancer, take the best care of your own health with diet, exercise, moderation of things like tobacco / food / alcohol that you can, and keep a regular relationship with your physician for periodic check ups, screening exams, and the sharing of your family medical history. Don’t live in fear of cancer, but do take these reasonable steps against it.


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