Cancer can now be detected with a Single Blood Test
27-09-2018 | Posted By: Shagun Parasher | 1018 View(s)
Did you ever think that detecting a deadly disease like cancer would become so easy that it could be done through a single blood test? We bet you did not. Cancer, solely, takes more lives than any other disease in India. The most common kinds of cancer are the cancer of blood, skin, lungs, prostrate in men, breast and uterine in women. Now there is a simple cancer detection test which can detect eight types of cancer. Let us get into the article and find out about single Blood Test for Cancer Detection.
There are many people who do not get themselves checked on a regular basis because they fear the unknown. They think they are healthy and don’t have any symptom of any disease, so what is the need to go for a health checkup? However, they are not aware of the fact that there are many health conditions that can go asymptomatic for years. Even for cancers, there are many types of cancers which often don’t show any symptoms until the cancer is advanced. One example of this type of cancer is lung cancer.
Cancer is a deadly disease which kills millions of people worldwide. According to the National Cancer Registry Programme of the India Council of Medical Research, more than 1300 Indians die every day due to cancer. What can we do about it? How can we reduce the risk of cancer?
The best three ways to prevent cancer are to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and go for a regular health checkup. Fortunately, now there is a single blood test that can detect eight cancer types.
For many cancers, cancer detection is a very long and challenging process. However, recent studies suggest that a total of 8 different types of cancers can be detected through a single blood test. Surprised? We too were surprised. This development in research could offer a much needed simpler, less challenging and effective diagnostic method.
The name of this blood test is CancerSEEK. It is developed by the students of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The study was done on 1000 affected people and the author of this study is Joshua Cohen, a medical student at this university.
Method/ Technique of this Cancer Detection Test
CancerSEEK looks for numerous compounds in the blood, the presence of these in blood is thought to be an early sign of cancer. These include 16 different cancer “driver genes”. These genes are associated with tumours. Along with driver genes, eight proteins are also detected in blood, the study says.
The beauty of this test is that you do not have to especially book this test, but you can easily get it done along with other tests. Let’s suppose you are getting your cholesterol checked in your annual test, you will also receive your blood screened for cancer.
This is not just enough. There is more to it. The blood test appears to be able to screen for five cancers for which the screening is not available as of now. These include ovarian, stomach, liver, pancreatic and oesophagal. The thing with these is that they do not cause symptoms until when it already at an advanced stage. And that is when the treatment becomes difficult.
To study how well the blood test works, the researchers tried it on around 1,000 people who were pre-diagnosed with cancer that had not metastasized or spread to other body parts. These tests include ovarian, breast, stomach, liver, pancreatic, lung, colorectal and oesophagal. There were 800 healthy without-cancer people who were also involved in this study. This was a highly sensitive study and its accuracy arranged between 69-98 per cent.
“This test represents the next step in changing the focus of cancer research from late-stage disease to early disease, which I believe will be critical to reducing cancer deaths in the long term,” said Dr Bert Vogelstein. The sensitivity of CancerSEEK in detecting stage one cancer is quite low. It is near about 40%. When stage one and two are combined, the resultant is still 60%. So even if the test seeks to help the people in a larger way, it still is not very helpful in detecting cancer at the stage where we want to diagnose it the most.
This test needs to be validated in a large-scale study that evaluates tens of thousands of healthy individuals to confirm the specificity and sensitivity. It is really important to check this test in this practical world and demonstrate that it really would work or not.
The test also detected cancer in 1 per cent of the group, as per the study. This could either mean that the blood test has a 1 per cent positive-false rate or that the individuals do have cancer that has not been diagnosed.
What differentiates Liquid Biopsies from CancerSEEK?
How are liquid biopsies different from this newly developed CancerSEEK test? Liquid biopsies look for markers in blood. It is using two types of indicators to get accurate results. These indicators are genes and proteins and they are used to get more accurate results. This test cannot be used for getting confirmed results. For example, if a person is diagnosed with stomach cancer by blood tests, the doctor will suggest getting an endoscopy done. Similarly, if the blood test suggests that the person has colon cancer, then he will have to go for a colonoscopy.
How to reduce the risk of Cancer?
Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases. It not only affects the affected person but impacts the patient’s family too. There are many Dos and DONTs that you must follow to reduce the risk of cancer. Here are they listed. Read on.
1. Quit Smoking
Do not smoke or use any tobacco-containing products. Smoking is the cause of many types of cancers like lung, throat, mouth, stomach, pancreas and oesophagus as per the National Cancer Institute. Quit smoking to prevent cancer and other diseases.
2. Get screened for Cancer
Getting regular screening done for cancer is essential. This can detect colon breast, prostate, cervix and skin cancer. If one’s body does not show any symptoms yet, getting early screening can help in finding the kind of cancer, and this increases the chances of treatment and cure.
3. Quit Alcohol
Consuming alcohol is terrible for health and drinking it in excess is even worse. If you can’t stop it, then you must limit its consumption.
4. Protect your Skin from the Sun
The ultraviolet rays of the sun are capable of damaging your skin and causing mutations in DNA which leads to skin cancer. Do not forget to apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher before you step out from home. Choose the right sunscreen lotion for your skin and apply it whenever you step out in the sun.
5. Be Active
Being physically active is a must to stay healthy and fit. Studies show that people who are not physically active have a higher risk of developing breast and colon cancers. Activities like brisk walking, dancing, walking etc. that makes you sweat are beneficial.
6. Maintain your Ideal Weight
People should try to maintain their ideal weight, and if they are overweight, they should try to reduce it. Having a Body Mass Index under 25 is essential. Body mass index is the weight in kilograms divided by square of height in metres.
7. Avoid exposure to cancer-causing substances
Radiation exposure and some chemicals are known for their capability of causing cancer. For example, ionising radiation that comes from gamma rays, X-rays, UV rays, etc., is linked to lung cancer, skin cancer, thyroid cancer, stomach cancer and breast cancer, as per the study by American Cancer Society.
These were some of the Dos and DONTs to reduce cancer symptoms.
We hope that you liked this article about CancerSEEK blood test. Do not forget to share it with your family and friends. Everyone wants to stay healthy and lead a happy life. But for that, you need to make some efforts to stay healthy and fit. A health checkup can help you monitor your health and detect diseases at an early stage. To book a health checkup package now, click here.