Nowadays, with adequate treatment, many cancers are highly treatable if detected early. The problem is that symptoms are rarely clear, and cancer can get time to develop before being spotted. This is why a screening test that could detect cancer before any symptoms can make a huge difference — especially for breast, colon, lung and ovarian cancers. The new method isn’t a slam dunk yet, but it successfully managed to identify cancer in more than half of patients.There were also no false positives, lead author Victor Velculescu of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore said.“Almost all of the studies have involved patients with late-stage cancer or used information from tumor specimens to go back and look in the blood of those patients,” he told MedPage Today. “This is one of the first studies to use an unbiased approach — you don’t know where the mutations are going to be — and to look at the blood of early-stage cancer patients to see whether we could detect alterations.”He and his colleagues used what is called a liquid biopsy — the sampling and analysis of blood — to test the patients. They developed an approach called targeted error correction sequencing (TEC-Seq for short) to look for tumor DNA. They looked at 58 cancer-related genes, sequencing the DNA over 30,000 times looking for any traces of tumors floating around.
Blood test can find cancer even before any symptoms emerge