Currently, a simple blood test is a tricky way to develop an early diagnosis of cancer. Except for certain blood cancers, blood tests are rarely conclusive, though they can be useful combined with other diagnostic tools.
A giant step forward to the day when many cancers can be detected early as part of a blood test during one’s annual exam has recently taken place, thanks to research conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
They conducted a new test called CancerSEEK that has the potential to detect eight forms of cancer from one sample.
How CancerSEEK Blood Test Works
The way the CancerSEEK test works is that it looks for various markers in the blood that eight forms of cancer create as tumors start to appear.
Three of the cancers–breast, lung, and colorectal cancer–already have tests available for people with an average risk. However, the five other cancers–ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, and esophageal–do not have routine screening procedures.
The researchers at Johns Hopkins performed the CancerSeek test on 1,005 people who had contracted a non-metastatic form of one of the eight cancers being tested for.
CancerSEEK Test Results
The test detected 33 percent of the breast cancers all the way to 98 percent of the ovarian cancers. The detection rate was 70 percent on the average for the eight forms of cancer being searched for. Moreover, the researchers were able to pinpoint the tumors for 83 percent of the patients.
More extensive trials are going to be required to test the efficacy of CancerSEEK before it is released into a clinical setting.
However, the promise of early detection of cancers before either symptom manifest or physical tumors become readily detectable cannot be overestimated. The earlier cancer is detected in a human body, the more likely it can be treated successfully.