New Blood Test Screens for Over 50 Types of Cancer

New Blood Test Screens for Over 50 Types of Cancer

( – Wouldn’t it be incredible if you could go to your doctor’s office, get some blood drawn and know within days if you have cancer and what type? It might not be too far off. A new breakthrough in medical diagnostics might be able to detect over 50 types of cancer with a simple blood test — even before symptoms begin to develop.

The Need for Easier Testing

Cancer kills about 8.8 million people each year globally, and early diagnosis can be an important factor in lowering that death rate. Testing has typically been specific to the cancer type, and unless doctors are ruling out breast, cervical, prostate or colon cancer, they’re probably not going to be looking until symptoms have already begun. This might leave cancer growing for a while before anyone notices anything is wrong. Broader preventative testing could potentially save millions of lives, but it simply hasn’t been available.

New Blood Test

In an article just released in the Annals of Oncology, researchers have announced the development of a test that can detect over 50 different types of cancer. The test uses a sample of blood and looks for the presence of tumor cell-free DNA (cfDNA) — different markers for cancer. The results can determine the type of cancer and the tissue of origin. This opens the door for asymptomatic patients to screen for a broad range of illnesses while they’re still at the most treatable stages of the disease.

How Effective Is It?

The test’s sensitivity varies depending on the type of cancer, and it also becomes more accurate the longer the disease progresses. That means some earlier cases are still less likely to be detected, with an average detection rate of 39% in stage I (69% at stage II, 83% by stage III and 92% in stage IV).

While the test has some limitations, it allows for diagnostics that have never been available before — testing for pancreatic cancer, for example, which happens to be among the types of cancer this test has been more successful at detecting (63% at stage I, 83% at stage II, 75% at stage III and 100% at stage IV). If just for detecting that one cancer alone, this test would be a breakthrough.

The future of cancer screening could be on the horizon — and this may prove to be just the beginning. The new testing method is still in development and might require some improvements, but it still might be the game-changer we’ve been waiting for. We’ll have more on this exciting advancement as it becomes available.

~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!

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