Cancer Could Soon Be Detected Before Your Symptoms Start, Thanks to New Research

This could be a breakthrough for cancer patients everywhere.

Soonthorn-Wongsaita/ShutterstockIf you know a loved one with cancer, have cancer yourself, or are at risk down the road, we have some good news for you. A team of researchers just developed a life-changing test that could revolutionize cancer prevention.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently revealed a new blood test that could detect cancer before patients even begin to show symptoms. (Don’t miss the signs you could be headed for cancer.) Their study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, claims to detect cancer in the majority of people with breast, colon, lung, and ovarian cancer—some of the biggest killers.

The test found cancer in the blood of more than half the patients who had been diagnosed with stage I disease. In fact, it caught cancer in 45 percent of lung cancer patients, 67 percent of ovarian cancer patients, and 67 percent of breast cancer patients, all of whom were in the earliest stages of their disease. And it was even more accurate in finding late-stage cancers. (Want even more good news? Reading these hopeful cancer statistics will make you feel even better.)

Most importantly, there were no false positives in 44 people who did not have cancer, the researchers reported. According to Dr. Wyndham Wilson of the National Cancer Institute, avoiding inaccurate results is essential to the future of cancer detection. Early-stage tumors or precancerous growths can sometimes simply vanish, for a variety of unknown reasons.

“You don’t want to go screening people for hallmark (cancer) mutations unless you absolutely know that when you find it, that there is a tumor there and that it is a tumor that needs to be treated,” Wyndam, who was not involved in the study, said.

The Johns Hopkins team developed the test using a method called targeted error correction sequencing. Thanks to this approach, they examined 58 cancer-related genes and identified certain mutations that were markers for cancer. The blood test would, in turn, detect those mutations in prospective patients.

Promising results aside, however, the team says that the test needs to be improved for accuracy and scope of detection. Still, their research is certainly a step in the right direction for a cancer-free world. In the meantime, make sure to memorize these simple ways you can prevent cancer right now.

[Source: NBC News]

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