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.
- Hori SS, et al. Mathematical Model Identifies Blood Biomarker–Based Early Cancer Detection Strategies and Limitations. Science Translational Medicine 2011; Advence online publicaiton.