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New Blood Test May Detect Cancer Before Tumors Ever Form in the Body

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Cancer in some form or another is something that affects practically every one of us.

Whether we personally have had cancer or we know someone who has had it, it is painful to bear the burden of something that is often incurable or even untreatable.

Yet even with treatment, it is difficult to watch the common side effects of nausea, hair loss, extreme fatigue and overall sadness.

But now, research scientists have developed a blood screening that reportedly has the ability to detect cancer in the body before tumors ever begin to develop or spread.

The test is called a liquid biopsy, and it examines the patient’s DNA for genetic mutations. These mutations are signals that cancer has affected the patient’s genes.

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The research was led by Dr. Eric Klein, a scientist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Klein’s team examined 1,600 patients.

The biopsy was able to detect some of the most deadly cancers, including pancreatic, ovarian, liver and gallbladder cancers.


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“Far too many cancers are picked up too late, when it is no longer possible to operate and the chances of survival are slim,” Professor Nicholas Turner from London’s Institute of Cancer Research said. “The goal is to develop a blood test, such as this one, that can accurately identify cancers in their earliest stages.”

While the success rate for detecting lung, head and neck cancers was under 60 percent, the new blood test was able to detect numerous types of cancer in over 80 percent of the patients who had been diagnosed.

Just like any new test, it requires more research to confirm its efficacy before it becomes available to the general population.

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However, Klein has high hopes for the test, saying that it could eventually become a standard screening for many patients.

“It could be given to healthy adults of a certain age, such as those over 40, to see if they have early signs of cancer,” Klein stated.

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“This is potentially the holy grail of cancer research, to find cancers that are currently hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure,” Klein described. “We hope this test could save many lives.”

While cancer affects so many that we love, it is comforting to hear new ways that humans can combat this tragic foe early on.

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Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a major in English, minors in both Writing and Communication Studies, and a Technical Writing concentration. She is currently working on designing and writing a book of poetry to financially support a new homeless ministry of Grove City, PA called Beloved Mercy Ministry. In her spare time, she loves to sing, play piano, exercise, traverse cities, and find the cutest coffee shops. She also has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Birthplace
Philadelphia, PA
Honors/Awards
Scholarship of Academic Achievement and Moral Character
Education
Grove City College
Location
Grove City, PA
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Visual Design, Document Design, Technical Communication, Literature, Computer Ethics




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