We don’t run early cancer detection tests here at Digital Nomad Health, but we have good resources for our patients who want to be proactive with cancer care. Our focus remains on what we can do to decrease the risk of cancer but it’s important to arm our patients with existing resources.
Early Cancer Detection by Imaging
Longevity doctors often use the prenuvo MRI screening company to detect early cancer through imaging. It’s not back-breaking at $2,500, but it’s not cheap, either.
It’s important to understand that this is for screening, and anything found that might be suspicious would need further testing. Dr. Peter Attia does a great job covering this topic.
Other imaging studies to consider are mammograms, low-dose CT for those with heavy smoking, and more targeted MRIs of areas of the body where one suspects or is at high risk for cancer.
Other companies in this space are ezra and Neko. To decide which is right for you, it’s best to have a deep conversation with your oncology expert because the types of MRI machines used and the kind of technology used to interpret the images matter quite a bit.
Early Cancer Detection Through Blood Testing
Another way to detect cancers early is through “liquid biopsy” or blood testing. A popular company in this space is the Galleri panel, which claims to detect many different cancers.
The test has to be ordered by a clinician but runs less than $1k, depending on various factors. Of course, the first question to ask is if this test is necessary in the first place.
We encourage our male patients concerned about prostate cancer to consider the 4K test and scoring algorithm instead of just a simple PSA.
Quite a few other companies are in this space, but many are coming and going rather quickly. Any other companies we put here will likely be gone in a few months, so we’ll update this when good competitors come along.
Other Cancer Screening Tests
Colonoscopy and visual inspection of the skin are still quite beneficial. Does this improve all-cause mortality? That’s debatable. But not a topic we will dive into in this article.
Certain genetic testing for high-risk individuals can help catch cancer early or prevent it if it’s not included in your particular blood panel. And pap smears and prostate testing (imaging or serology) can be helpful for those in the high-risk class.
What we tell our patients is to ask their own clinicians whether a certain test improves their overall quality of life and increases their longevity – it’s how we help our patients make decisions.
We’ve discussed cancer prevention in other articles. It’s helpful to live the kind of life where we give our body the best chance at clearing cancer cell lines.
We know some things are clearly carcinogenic – tobacco smoking is one of them. Alcohol definitely has some carcinogenic properties, and it is hard to argue that any amount is safe.
Sun protection, not just from sunscreen, is a helpful way to decrease different types of skin cancers.
HPV is a virus that can cause cancer in some individuals. Vaccinating against this virus has been effective in decreasing cancer. And Hepatitis B vaccine can decrease the risk of liver cancer but only in a very small number of individuals at risk of Hep B in the first place.
A healthy diet and adequate exercise/activity, along with stress management, have been linked to lower chances of developing cancer. And more studies confirm that obesity is an independent risk factor for cancer.