New blood test could detect early signs of breast cancer
This month marks the 28th anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As millions of people stand up to breast cancer and take that walk, scientists are working on a revolutionary blood test that can possibly take the place of an annual mammogram. A new clinical study is about to begin in the UK’s largest breast screening clinic at Charing Cross hospital, West London, which is funded by Cancer Research UK in collaboration with the University of Leicester and Imperial College London.
According to the The Sun, this new procedure can take effect as early as 2017, if successful. The test seeks out DNA chemicals, called biomarkers. This DNA chemical is produced by tumors the moment they develop.
Studies have found that in the past 40 years, breast cancer rates have almost doubled. The disease in England sky rocketed 90 percent from 1971 to 2010 — from 66 cases per 100,000 women to 126.
Chief Dr Jacqui Shaw, of Leicester University, hopes we can put an end to this high rise in breast cancer. According to Sky News, Dr Shaw said: “This exciting research means we could one day have a blood test that detects the very early signs of cancer, meaning women could have an annual blood test rather than breast screening. “This would remove any worry and anxiety for women who are called for further investigations after a mammogram only to find they don’t have cancer. As things stand we aren’t able to monitor breast cancer patients after they’ve had surgery and treatment – which is like treating diabetes but not measuring blood sugar levels. This new blood test could change that.”
Professor Charles Coombes, co-investigator and Cancer Research UK’s breast cancer expert from Imperial College London, claims breast cancer is diagnosed by a woman’s DNA in her blood. He states that in this study his research team is trying to find out “how early the signs of breast cancer show up in a blood test.” So by looking at blood samples of women who have breast cancer diagnosed through screening we can see if the cancer is already showing in their blood.”
The study have just begun but these high hopes for scientists need more work to conclude if this routine blood test can actually become a reality for patients. They hope this test will not only detect breast cancer early but also be able to detect whether breast cancer patients are likely to relapse and what drugs their particular type of tumor will respond to.