The difference between a person’s biological and physical age can predict whether they will get and die from cancer, a study has found.
Changes in how genes work can be spotted in blood tests and used to work out how quickly someone is ageing.
Factors that speed up ageing include smoking, drinking, a poor diet, air pollution and toxins.
For the first time scientists at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago have shown that the difference between actual age and biological age can be used to predict cancer risk. They found that when the body is 2.2 years older than actual age there is a little chance of surviving cancer.
“This could become a new early warning sign of cancer,” said senior author Dr Lifang Hou, chief of cancer epidemiology, who led the study.
“The discrepancy between the two ages appears to be a promising tool that could be used to develop an early detection blood test for cancer.
“People who are healthy have a very small difference between their epigenetic/biological age and chronological age.
“People who develop cancer have a large difference and people who die from cancer have a difference even larger than that. Our evidence showed a clear trend.”
SOURCE: Sarah Knapton