In October, Cancer Research UK, Britain’s largest cancer research non-profit, began studying the effectiveness of a blood test that uses DNA markers to help determine whether or not an individual has cancer.
The researchers are giving the blood test to a large group of women who have shown some kind of abnormality on a mammogram, and are being called back to the UK’s largest breast health clinic for further screening. Given this sample, some women will be positively diagnosed with breast cancer, and some will not.
If the test results match the clinic’s screening processes, then researchers are one step closer to being able to identify cancer via blood test. This opens the door for the possibility that in the future, women will be able to take a simple blood test on a regular basis to screen for cancer. This means early detection of breast cancer might be accomplished even before a lump grows large enough to be detectable during a clinical breast exam or a tumor shows up on a mammogram. Of course, earlier detection only means breast cancer is caught in earlier stages, which leads to higher recovery rates!
We at The Maurer Foundation are always excited to hear about new developments in early detection, and look forward to learning the results of this study after its completion. In the meantime, it’s a good reminder to practice the tried-and-true method of early detection—a monthly breast self-exam and, for women over 40, an annual mammogram. Need a way to remember? Check out The Maurer Foundation Breast Health Alarm Clock.