Modern medicine has given us a life we could never have imagined. The average person lives to be 75, smallpox has been eradicated, polio, malaria, typhoid and bird flue all have vaccines that can prevent them and viruses that could kill you a hundred years ago are now treatable with a 300 milligram tablet. As remarkable as that is, swine flue, pancreatic cancer, ebola; all of these diseases are not curable. And to treat them, it’s important to catch them early on. That’s why this test for breast cancer is so important. It detects the disease five years before it develops.
A team at the University of Copenhagen conducted research (involving 13000 women) that showed that present breast cancer tests miss about 2000 cases of breast cancer every year and show false positives for some. It has to do with the variation in breast tissue in women. Thick/dense tissue can impede the low energy X-Rays from detecting any lumps that show cancer. Also, dense breast tissue increases your likelihood to develop cancer.
The new blood test has been tested on 57,000 patients over a period of twenty years. It makes a metabolic profile of certain chemicals in the blood to detect how they will react and process over time. This method has been used by researchers at Harvard University to detect leukemia and lymphoma by searching for tell tale signs of mutation in the blood.
A smaller group of 800 women were split into two groups, those who remained healthy throughout and those that developed cancer within 7 years of their testing. It’s an 80% accurate test compared to the 75% accurate mammography tests we have that detect breast cancer that has already developed.
Breast cancer has a 93-100% survival rate for treatment at stage 2, 72% for stage 3 and 22% for stage 4. So the earlier the detection the better.