In one of the most exciting discoveries made this year, doctors have managed to spot cancer a year before the CT scans and X-rays can even recognize them.
With such a discovery, doctors will be able to fight the tumor earlier than before, increasing chances of cure.
What’s more, they have discovered a new strain of drugs after studying how unstable DNA encourages rapid cancer development.
The main focus of study was lung cancer but the findings can be used in the treatment of all types of cancer.
Lung cancer tops as the type of cancer to have claimed highest number of lives. It is therefore important to track how this killer disease evolves and its method of spreading in the body.
How can you predict a cancer return?
For doctors to be able to learn about the re-emergence of cancer, they need to be aware of what they are looking for.
In this trial under the Cancer Research UK funding, health practitioners took samples of lung cancer after it was removed during a surgery.
The team of researchers then proceeded to analyze any defects in the tumor so as to establish a genetic fingerprint of individual patients.
Doctors continued to take blood samples for three months after the surgery to try and locate any cancer traces.
The study findings established that it is possible to detect the re-emergence up to one year before any other method known to medicine.
These tumors are expected to build up to 0.3 cubic millimeters before blood samples can pick them up.
New Hope for cancer treatment
“We can identify patients to treat even if they have no clinical signs of disease, and also monitor how well therapies are working. This represents new hope for combating lung cancer relapse following surgery, which occurs in up to half of all patients,” said Dr Christopher Abbosh, from the UCL Cancer Institute.
He added that the research is a representation of a new era in lung cancer treatment, which affects almost half of all cancer patients.
Theoretically speaking, it should be possible to kill cancer while it’s still in the early stages.
With the results in place, Prof Charles Swanton, from the Francis Crick Institute, believes that it is about time to begin clinical tests and answer a fundamental question – if people can be treated when there is no cancer evidence, can that increase chances of cure?