Blood test can detect cancer 10 years before it appears
When a person is diagnosed with cancer, some factors are taken into account to determine what type of treatment will be performed. These include the type and stage of cancer, clinical history and patient choice. Among the most common treatments are chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgeries. However, researchers in several countries have been researching ways to make treatment quicker, easier and cheaper, and less painful for the patient. Recently, the discovery of a test capable of diagnosing all types of tumors was announced a decade before the onset of symptoms.
The method known as "liquid biopsies" is the newest discovery most effective for the treatment of tumors. With a simple blood sample, an analysis of the circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is performed and able to provide comprehensive information about the tumor's genetic changes, which may evolve over time.
The procedure is being developed by the Center for Fight Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer in the United States. According to the scientists, the test may be available to the population within two years, aiming to improve the quality of life of cancer patients.
In addition, the researchers believe that the method has the potential to halve cancer mortality rate, saving thousands of lives. The first results investigating the accuracy of the tests were unveiled at the American Society for Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago this past weekend.
The researchers looked at 161 patients already diagnosed with breast, lung or prostate cancer to see could accurately detect the tumor's DNA in your blood. The results showed that the test could identify some type of tumor in 90% of the cases, that is, the efficacy of the technique is considerably high. Thus. the test could reduce the cancer mortality rate by as much as 45 percent. Experts say the test would initially be offered to patients at higher risk of cancer, including the elderly, smokers, or those with a family history. After that, it would be released to others. In addition, it would be possible to determine whether the person has cholesterol, diabetes, and some type of tumor.
The researchers' goal is for it to be applied as a routine examination, such as those designed to detect high cholesterol or high blood pressure The hope is that, at this stage, tumors are still relatively small, so they can be removed directly by surgery.
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Recently, another study by Australian and American researchers found the efficacy of the test to diagnose pancreatic cancer, being one of the most difficult types to treat due to to being discovered only in advanced stages. The analysis was done with 119 patients already diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the results show that the method could detect the disease in 55% of cases.
Cancer in numbers
Cancer is the name given to a set of more than 100 diseases that have in common the disordered growth of cells that invade tissues and organs and can spread to other regions of the body.
According to the National Cancer Institute (INCA), currently 8.2 million people die every year of cancer in the world. In Brazil, 576 thousand cases are planned per year. The most incident tumor is non-melanoma skin cancer (182,000 cases), followed by prostate cancer (68,800), breast cancer (57,100), bowel cancer (33,000), and cancer of lung (27,000).
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