Researchers in Denmark have come up with a a simple blood test that can predict breast cancer up to five years before it develops. And even better—– it’s got an accuracy level of 80% making it more effective thanour current mammography tests which are 75% accurate and only after a person has already developed the cancer.  The University of Copenhagen team wanted to come up with a better option for breast cancer screening that was not only more accurate but solved the problem of false positives that has been plaguing mammography for years.

Last year a study involving 13000 women found that screening via mammography misses more than 2000 cases of breast cancer per year in the UK alone while falsely alerting other women that they have the disease when they don’t.

Better than a mammogram

Part of the problem with mammograms is dealing with those who have dense breast tissue  about one in three women do. Not only does it significantly increase your risk of developing breast cancer but dense breast tissue makes it harder for the mammogram to pick up on any tell tale lumps. Researchers have urges that ultrasounds be used part of the breast screening process in conjunction with mammograms—– particularly for more at risk women—to achieve better accuracy

Breakthrough blood testdownload (2)

The test works by “ measuring all of the compounds in the blood to build a ‘ metabolic profile’ of an individual in order to detect changes in the way chemicals are processed during a pre-cancerous stage” says Laura Donnelly at the Telegraph. The concept is the same one used by researchers from Harvard University to predict a person’s likelihood of developing cancer by looking for certain tell tale mutations believed to originate in their blood stem cells.

An accuracy rate of 80 per cent

The researchers found they were able to predict with 80 percent accuracy which patients would be affected by the disease just by looking at the metabolic profiles they built from the participants’ blood samples. The big benefit of this test is that it gives at-risk women a headstart in fighting the disease.

Early detection crucial

downloadIf you catch breast cancer up to stage 2 you have a 93 to 100 percent chance of surviving the diseases which drops down to 72 percent at stage 3 and 22 percent at stage 4. And by building a metabolic profile for each patient who undergoes the test the potential is there to predict a whole host of other diseases too.



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