Researchers at Edith Cowan University may have discovered a game-changing way to prevent the number of deaths due to melanoma, a type of skin cancer: a new blood test. For their trials, 105 melanoma patients and 104 healthy people had their blood tested. In almost 80 percent of people tested, early stages of melanoma were detected.
At the moment, the main way to diagnose melanoma is to examine the skin and take a biopsy. But as this new method can detect the cancer at such an early stage, patients can start treatment much sooner. Therefore, they have a better chance of surviving.
So how exactly does this all work? Well, the blood test picks up on the presence of auto-antibodies, which are the body's way of responding to cancer cells. Professor Mel Zimon from Edith Cowan University says, "It's important to pick up melanoma early, and the blood test we have developed is able to do this. We were able to detect melanomas that were less than half an inch in depth, which was fantastic." The findings are promising for those who may not know they are at risk of developing the disease yet, offering a new method for early detection and treatment options.
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in melanocytes (a cell in the skin and eyes that produces and contains the pigment called melanin). Most melanocytes are in the skin, and melanoma can occur on any skin surface.
The issue with melanomas is that they're cancerous cells that can escape and be carried to other parts of the body in blood or lymph vessels. New testing mechanisms like the one developed by the researchers at Edith Cowan University reduce the risk of this occurence by detecting harmful cancer cells before they can spread. As always, if you have any concerns, please consult your doctor.
This article was originally written by Alex Lilly. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.