Oxford University scientists are developing a blood test for screening for breast cancer!
This test is a metal detecting blood test that is simple and will make a quick investigation in to development of a breast cancer way before a woman complains of a lump. This test is intended to be used in the national screening programmes.
This simple test would be monumental as it would be able to pick up cancer cells at an early stage and can potentially save thousands of lives along with the distress of long term morbidity. There is a good survivor rate for breast carcinoma and amounts to 80% however the prognosis depends upon at what stage the disease is. The earlier it is detected the better outcomes.
This new blood test is based upon different forms of zinc in the bloodstream. As breast tissue is known for taken up zinc and releasing it back in the blood, the test revolves around heavy and light forms of the element.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women since 2012, accounting for 25% of all cases. Most of the cases are non invasive, non melanoma type which can be cured easily as compared to the opposite. Breast cancer is strongly connected with the individual’s age with a mere 5% reported to have inflicted women below the age of 40.
Currently screening programmes include mammography, the role of which was questioned to be whether harmful or useful. Although, studies showed that it plays a pivotal role in picking cancer in women of age group 40-70 and recommended a two yearly screening of women between ages 50-74.
The principle upon which the new blood test is based is involving cancer cells absorbing a higher amount of zinc. The cancer cells also have a predilection to the lighter zinc form which leaves the heavy zinc levels to be raised in the bloodstream. Higher the heavy form of zinc in blood, higher the chance of a woman having breast cancer.
The test is to be available within five years. In a decade’s times this simple test may revolutionize screening for breast cancer as this can be applied on every woman for screening purpose. Women with family history of breast carcinoma can particularly benefit a great deal from the test.
A simple blood test is hoped to be more efficient in early detection of breast cancer than the current screening techniques. This test can also be used to detect other metals which may be an indication for the presence of other cancers.