Late-stage cancer diagnoses may soon become rarer, and millions of lives may be saved thanks to a new cancer breakthrough. Researchers at Swansea University Medical School in Wales have learned that red blood cells mutate before classic cancer symptoms appear. They've now developed a test that can detect whether those mutations have occurred. If so, patients can get simple, effective surgeries sooner instead of more debilitating treatments with lower success rates later on.
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So far, the test has worked in a study of 300, with some healthy participants and some with esophageal cancer. The team started with esophageal cancer because of the difficulty in catching it early and the low survival rate after diagnosis, study leader Gareth Jenkins, PhD, a professor of cancer genetics at the school, said. Scientists are checking out pancreatic cancer sufferers next, but they feel confident that the test will be accurate for all kinds of cancers.
A new blood test has been developed that could detect cancer earlier than ever before > https://t.co/mBVjXuIxIL pic.twitter.com/xBIkDqFfCz— Swansea University (@SwanseaUni) September 6, 2016
A new blood test has been developed that could detect cancer earlier than ever before > https://t.co/mBVjXuIxIL pic.twitter.com/xBIkDqFfCz
According to NZHerald.co.nz, the test involves taking blood from the finger and results are available in hours. The researchers believe that the test can alert not just those who already have early-stage cancer but also those who are at high-risk for developing cancer in a decade, even if they don't currently have it.
The £35 (or roughly $47) test could be available in five years, but leading cancer organization Cancer Research UK says larger studies need to be conducted before it can be released.
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