John Kang WebMD | “Universal” Blood Test for Detecting Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death all over the world. Just this year, the American Institute for Cancer Research mentioned that to date, there are about 18 million cancer cases worldwide, and the numbers will still rise at the end of 2018. With cases occurring and increasing every year, hematologists and experts like John Kang WebMD are using a variety of methods to diagnose cancer. One of these done for screening is a blood test. Image Source: Fox News
However, John Kang WebMD says, different cancer diseases need different screening methods, making early detection and diagnoses hard.
Meanwhile, with this hardship in mind, some enterprising experts may be on the verge of completing a “universal” blood test that can accurately test and screen for most types of cancer.
Research and development
In 2014, John Kang WebMD says a research team from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom focused a study on developing a type of blood testing method that can ultimately be used as a “universal” test for all types of cancer. The team faced a number of obstacles, the major one being the technology used in the clinical trials was faulty. With help from an outside enterprise, the team managed to successfully conclude the study.
“Universal” blood test
The new blood test measures the damage of the DNA present in the white blood cells after exposing the blood sample to ultraviolet light. Measuring the damage reveals how susceptible the cells are to damage. It also shows damage from cancer, uncovering the onset of the disease.
John Kang WebMD states as per the study, the damage to the DNA comes in the form of a “comet tail.” If the tail is long, there is a high chance that this is an early sign of cancer, since those with cancer already present has their white blood cell DNA easily damaged by ultraviolet light.
While the test has yet to be made available, the researchers are optimistic on its success.
Should the test roll out, it will greatly benefit doctors as it will greatly simplify the testing process, with a greater chance of detection. Nowadays, doctors detect and diagnose cancer in a variety of ways, not limited to laboratory tests. If the lab results come out inconclusive, there will be additional tests like biopsy, imaging tests, genetic tests, and others, until the disease has been accurately pinpointed.
Having a “universal” blood test to detect cancer will help in early detection and mitigate its advance. Aside from the disease being the number one cause of death worldwide, it is also expected that cancer cases will continue to rise each year, and is projected to reach more than 23 million by 2030. Cancer is also considered to be the most prevalent disease due to its many types, with lung cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer the most common.
However, John Kang WebMD says the new system will not replace the traditional tests. Instead, it will help in making the screening process more fluid, pinpointing the presence of cancer much quicker so oncologists and medical experts can focus on tracing the disease’s source.