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Tumours 'not detectable for years'

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Certain tumours can go undetected for a decade or even longer because current blood tests are not advanced enough to catch them in their infancy, a study has indicated.

This revelation has prompted nurses and other healthcare professionals to call for more sophisticated blood tests to be developed in order to catch certain cancers earlier, therefore boosting a patient’s chances of survival.

The Stanford University study analysed the development of ovarian cancer, but its researchers believe their findings also apply to tumours found in patients with many types of cancer, including breast, prostate and lung cancer.

While current tests might only be able to detect tumours once they have spread to other parts of the body, the good news is that because they are slow growing in nature, scientists have time to develop new tests which can identify tumours earlier.

The study, based on a mathematical predictive model originally used to predict concentrations of intravenous drugs, has been published in the Science Translational Medicine journal.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • This report is a not quite accurately summarised, as if you even read the abstract this is only about a mathematical model not anything about actually having a reliable early test for cancers at the moment. I am also not sure about the comment about the current blood markers only identifying cancer that has already spread to other parts of the body?? CA 125 is not used only if a cancer is spread. The problem with cancer blood markers is that most are not specific to cancer. Thyroglobulins are measured for thyroid cancer post thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine as these treatment ablate all normal thyroid tissue so prescence of thyroglobulins may indicate recurrance which could be local or metastatic. BUT, not always... CEA - can be raised for other reasons. The reporting of these scientific papers needs to be more carefully reported please.

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