a blood test could detect it before symptoms

The test detects the presence of circulating tumor DNA in the blood

According to the discovery of scientists, a simple blood sample could detect 50 types of cancer in people who do not yet show symptoms.

It is a major advance against cancer which was presented on Sunday at the congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Paris. A simple blood test would detect the presence of tumor DNA, derived from the tumor and present in the bloodstream even when there are no signs of the disease in the patient yet, explains CNN Portugal. This process, capable of identifying genetic alterations in cancerous cells, could make it possible to speed up treatment for patients and thus improve their chances of survival.

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Two months to confirm the diagnosis

The study led by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, and coordinated by American oncologist Deborah Schrag, bases its results on a blood test carried out on 6,621 people over the age of 50 without a diagnosis of cancer or symptoms of the disease. 99% of them tested negative while 1.4% tested for signs of cancer. Subsequent tests confirmed the diagnosis in 38% of patients. A “good” percentage and an important step towards early detection, according to the scientists.

In detail, it took on average less than two months to confirm the diagnosis and about three months to invalidate it. The downside of the blood test is that false positives can lead to a number of invasive procedures for the patient, such as endoscopies or biopsies. However, few study participants needed it.

Deployed on a large scale, this test could make it possible to exclude the presence of tumors in patients or, on the contrary, to better manage cancers that are difficult to detect, such as that of the pancreas, small intestine or stomach, which are often treated too late.

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