Simple blood test gives women at risk of breast cancer a better chance of survival

By Maria Kyriacou

Simple blood test gives women at risk of breast cancer a better chance of survival
Researchers develop new test that predicts breast cancer five years before it occurs

A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen have come up with a simple blood test that could revolutionise how breast cancer is diagnosed.

Early detection is the best way to increase survival rates for women, and this test can predict breast cancer five years before it develops.

“It is not perfect, but it is truly amazing that we can predict breast cancer years into the future,” said lead researcher Rasmus Bro.

Even more exciting is the accuracy rates for the test. At a level of 80 per cent, they are better than current mammography results, which are 75 per cent accurate – but only detectable when the person has already developed cancer.

Over 57,000 participants took part in the trials over 20 years, with a smaller subset of 800 women being split into two groups, those who developed breast cancer and those who remained healthy. The women who developed cancer had their metabolic profiles built and their blood samples analysed. From this method they were able to predict which patients would be at risk of the disease.

The researchers aim was to develop a screening tool that was much more effective than mammograms, which can deliver false positive results and make detection in women with dense breast tissue more difficult.

According to Cancer Council Australia, although mammography is currently the preferred method of detection, it can also cause harm due to overdiagnosis.

“ Overdiagnosis occurs because mammography cannot accurately distinguish between potentially fatal cancers and less harmful cancers.”

This incredible innovation could lead to a decrease in the number of women diagnosed with latter stage cancers,  which have a lower treatment success rate.

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