Of all the tests and ways to gather information modern medicine has developed, few are simpler or more straightforward than a basic blood test. Doctors can learn a lot from our blood, but not everything. For cancer patients and those worried about whether or not they might develop cancer, the only ways to be certain of a diagnosis either good or bad has been expensive and sometimes invasive procedures. New research by doctors in Ohio promises to change that.
Working out of the Cleveland Center, oncologists have developed a blood test they call a liquid biopsy. It can detect even the most minute traces of cancer by looking for DNA residue cancer cells released into the bloodstream if they’re present. The test can currently identify ten different kinds of cancer, and researchers are hopeful they can broaden the spectrum to more. They’re also hopeful this new procedure, simple and no more troublesome for the patient than a simple blood draw, can provide a way to universally screen for cancer at basic health checkups.
Aside from convenience and less pain or hassle for patients, the liquid biopsy could dramatically improve the prognosis for cancer patients. Detecting cancer earlier is one of the keys to achieving a better outcome for a cancer patient. Treatment that can start sooner, before cancer has had a chance to grow undetected, can make a marked difference in survival rates.
A simple blood test could catch cancer early enough to potentially save millions of patients #HealthStatus
- 1The liquid biopsy is able to detect minute particles of DNA released by cancer cells into the bloodstream.
- 2The liquid biopsy tests the genome for DNA composition, looks for gene mutation and signals specific DNA changes.
- 3The liquid biopsy helps to find rare and hard to treat cancers before symptoms are apparent.