Will you get cancer? There's a test for that ...

04 June 2018 - 14:38 By Henry Bodkin
EARLIER DETECTION PROVIDES BETTER RESULTS A patient undergoes a CAT scan to detect cancerous tumours. Scientists have created a simple test to identify genetic traces of cancers for earlier detection.
EARLIER DETECTION PROVIDES BETTER RESULTS A patient undergoes a CAT scan to detect cancerous tumours. Scientists have created a simple test to identify genetic traces of cancers for earlier detection.
Image: 123RF/Eldar Nurkovic

A new blood test is able to detect 10 types of cancer years before a person falls ill, scientists say.

The breakthrough is being hailed as a major step towards the “holy grail” of curing cancer after trials on 1,400 patients found the simple procedure worked with up to 90% accuracy.

Experts said the findings could pave the way for an almost universal screening programme that could detect warning signs of disease long before it developed, vastly improving survival chances.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said such breakthroughs were part of major changes which “would unlock enormous survival gains” across the health service.

“As the NHS marks its 70th anniversary, we stand on the cusp of a new era of personalised medicine that will dramatically transform care for cancer and for inherited and rare diseases.  In particular, new techniques for precision early diagnosis would unlock enormous survival gains, as well as dramatic productivity benefits in the practice of medicine,” he said. 

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