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Researchers suggest developing blood test for general cancer screening

What if there was a single test doctors could use to screen for various types of cancer? A recent research effort conducted at the National Cancer Research Institute in Liverpool looked at thousands of previous scientific publications with the aim of determining whether there might be a way to develop a general cancer screening test using blood samples. The idea, of course, would be to help health care providers better detect patients who are at risk for cancer so that they can begin receiving early treatment.

Researchers reportedly found that there are over 800 biomarkers in the blood of cancer patients, and it is suggested that a blood test could potentially be developed as a screening device for various forms of cancer. The idea is a relatively new one, though it isn't clear yet how feasible it is to develop a single blood test for early detection of multiple types of cancer.

Cancer screening, according to the National Cancer Institute, involves searching at the risk of cancer before a patient has exhibited any symptoms of cancer. Again, the idea is that early detection can significantly increase the odds of beating cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are some types of cancer that are best detected by using specific screening tests. These cancers include those of the breast, cervix, colon, and lungs. Other types of cancer may have screening methods available, but none that have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of death.

Patients can and should expect that their medical doctor should provide them with information about the benefits and risks of undergoing cancer testing. In cases where a physician makes a mistake in interpreting medical data related to cancer screening and ends up failing to diagnose cancer, it is important for patients to understand that they may have the ability to seek appropriate compensation by working with an experienced attorney.

Source: Science World Report, "Could A Simple Blood Test Detect Cancer," Kathleen Lees, November 3, 2014.

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