Blood tests, with no radiation hazard, may replace mammograms
Mammogram problems A recent study in the British Medical Journal suggested mammograms may actually increase the risk of breast cancer in young women with a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene due to the radiation exposure. False positives (where the test incorrectly shows breast cancer) and false negatives (where it fails to detect breast cancer) are also not uncommon
Blood tests may replace mammograms Telegraph (Sydney) Leanne Hudson January 19, 2013
SCIENTISTS are investigating a more accurate, less invasive test for breast cancer. Baring your breasts in front of strangers and having your flesh uncomfortably pressed between two pieces of plastic – a procedure commonly known as a mammogram – is the standard test for breast cancer In future, all you may need to do is have a simple blood test.
- A study funded by Cancer Research UK is examining whether a blood test can be used to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.It involves comparing DNA in the blood of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer with those who do not have the condition to see which DNA markers are consistent.
Scientists in Australia are hot on the test’s trail.
“The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is funding a study involving experts from around the country to see whether blood tests can be used for the early detection of cancer,” says Dr Alison Butt, director of research investment at NBCF. “We’re looking for fragments of DNA in the bloodstream from early tumours….. “This blood test could allow doctors to detect breast cancer very early on, before any physical signs appear, increasing a woman’s chance of survival,” Butt says.
Mammograms are unable to detect breast cancer until changes have occurred to the breast tissue. Some experts have also questioned the safety and efficacy of mammograms.
Mammogram problems A recent study in the British Medical Journal suggested mammograms may actually increase the risk of breast cancer in young women with a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene due to the radiation exposure. False positives (where the test incorrectly shows breast cancer) and false negatives (where it fails to detect breast cancer) are also not uncommon……..
Scientists hope the breast cancer blood test will be an effective screening tool for women of all ages and will also help doctors monitor how a cancer progresses.
“At present, when we detect breast cancer we don’t know what it is going to do,” Butt says. “Is it aggressive? Non-aggressive? We know of 10 different kinds of breast cancer, and one is very different to another. A blood test could guide treatment by pinpointing genetic abnormalities.”
There is hope the test could also be used to detect other cancers……. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/will-blood-tests-replace-mammograms/story-e6frf00i-1226557805168
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