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Forget The Mammogram: This Is The Future Of Breast Cancer Testing

The survival rate for people with any type of cancer dramatically improves with the speed of diagnosis. As Joel Balsam of AskMen notes, early detection is the best way to help ensure successful treatment. Many types of cancer are difficult to detect, which means that patients sometimes go undiagnosed for too long, and by the time the disease is identified, it is too late. Fortunately, researchers say that by 2020, it may be possible to detect cancer by analyzing a single drop of a patient's blood.

Tissue biopsies and scans are currently the most commonly used methods for detecting cancer in a patient. Unfortunately, as noted by Warren Simmons of The Latest News, these scans are time-consuming and expensive, and do not always detect cancer until it is in the advanced stages.

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

Researchers at the VU University Amsterdam teaching hospital have developed a cancer-testing technique that requires only a single drop of blood, according to Dutch News. The new technique has been tested on six types of cancer, and successfully identified cancer in 96 percent of test cases. Using this blood test, researchers were able to find the origin of the primary tumor in over 200 cancer patients with 71 percent accuracy, according to Balsam. He also notes that the new technique could be available as early as 2020, and that, much like diabetes, cancer may become a disease which can be monitored with a simple at-home test kit. Genetic Engineering News reports that the “liquid biopsy” is also being worked on by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, who are focusing on the differences in RNA profiles between tumor-educated platelets (TEPs) and healthy platelets.

Source: Flickr

The liquid biopsy technique may soon replace mammography as the preferred means for detecting breast cancer. While mammograms are effective in finding cancer, they also frequently return false positives. Misdiagnosis puts a great deal of unnecessary stress on patients and is a contributing factor when it comes to ever-rising health care costs. Learn more here about what researchers at the University of Leicester are doing with the liquid biopsy technique.

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