AND A SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH could enable early detection of breast cancer in young women using a simple blood test.
The Trucheck test correctly identifies 92 percent of breast cancers by highlighting cancer cells circulating in the blood.
Results from the minimally invasive procedure are about five percent more accurate than mammograms, prompting one researcher to call the screening process a “game changer.”
Its ability to detect early-stage breast cancer that cannot be detected on scans, particularly in younger women, is celebrated by doctors.
Breast cancer surgeon Professor Kefah Mokbel worked on the innovation and says there is a “paradigm shift” in breast cancer screening, according to MailOnline.
He said: “This test is potentially a game changer. It could change breast cancer screening.”
Medical oncologist Dr Tim Crook of The London Clinic private hospital already offers this test to patients.
He says Trucheck has the potential to replace mammograms in the future.
Dr Crook said: “We have a huge problem with late diagnosis of cancer in this country and it’s hard to think of ways to improve it.”
During the examination, the nurse draws 5 ml of blood, which is analyzed for the presence of the often cancerous ‘circulating tumor cells’ (CTCs).
In blood samples taken from 9,632 healthy women and another 548 with breast cancer, Trucheck was able to correctly identify existing cancer 92 percent of the time in a case-controlled study.
Trucheck identified the disease 100 percent of the time in samples from women with stage 3 or 4 disease.
The test was 96 percent accurate when trying to detect stage 2 cancer in women, where there are fewer CTCs and tumors are commonly confined to the breast.
Accuracy was 89 percent in women with stage 1 breast cancer, while it caught 70 percent of cases where precancerous lesions, known as stage 0, were present.
More than 50,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women every year in the UK.
Almost 1,000 people die from breast cancer every month in the UK, with the disease killing around 11,500 women and 80 men each year.
Although more common in older women, it also affects the younger generation and men – around 20 per cent of cases occur in women under 50 and 350 cases in men are diagnosed in the UK each year.
For most women, the first sign or symptom of breast cancer is a lump or area of thickened tissue in the breast.
Although 90 percent of such lumps are not cancerous, it is important to have them checked by your GP at the earliest opportunity – early detection can mean more effective treatment.
It is therefore vital to be ‘breast aware’ – to know what feels normal and therefore what changes to look out for.