Blood test could spot lung cancer 5 years earlier
A blood test could help spot lung cancer up to 5 years before traditional scans can, a new study has found.
The test uses antibodies produced by the immune system in response to lung cancer as a diagnostic tool, according to the University of Dundee.
Spotting cancer at early stage
Of nearly 6,000 high-risk patients screened, around 10% tested positive for the antibodies.
From this group, 207 were found to have lung nodules - lumps of tissue in the lungs that may be cancerous or benign.
Chest X-rays and CT scans confirmed that 16 of the 207 people actually had lung cancer. Eight of these were at an early stage.
Dr Stuart Schembri, who co-led the research, says the best hope for beating this life-threatening illness is to detect it as early as possible.
Heavy smokers are particularly at risk, but currently it’s not possible to scan everyone who is considered high risk.
And within those who are scanned, a CT scan alone can falsely suggest lung cancer or pick up incidental, non-clinically relevant findings, causing unnecessary worry and expense, Dr Schembri added.
More information for doctors
This test allows doctors to scan patients from a much more informed position.
This can help remove the stress many patients suffer when going through often unnecessary CT scans.
The team are now monitoring the progress of the study participants over two years to see if the test can reduce the incidence of late-stage lung cancer.
Results from the research were presented at the British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting in London.
Each year, more than 46,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK and over 35,500 die from the disease.
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