The inexpensive test has been developed by British scientists from the Royal Marsden Hospital, lead by Dr. Nicholas Turner, and can tell patients who have previously suffered with the disease if it will come back.
It will also be able to flag up the cancer months before a lump is felt or a new tumour shows up on a scan. With this knowledge it may then be possible to delay, or prevent, the cancer's return which will in turn save countless lives. Drugs can also be tailored to the patient's needs if it does return.
"That’s the promise of a blood test like this," Dr. Turner noted.
For the study, blood samples from 55 women were examined. Each had been treated for early-stage breast cancer, with the amount of cancer left in their body after treatment varying.
Some women had the cancer DNA in their body immediately after, while others had the DNA detected over time. Those who had the genetic material in their blood were 12 times more likely to suffer a relapse to those that tested negative.
The hope is that the test can be applied to different variations of cancer, like prostate and lung. The team are optimistic it can start to be used within the next five years.
There are 309,500 new cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK each year, with around 55,000 of these being breast. It's calculated that one in three people will develop a form of cancer in their lifetime, but news of the blood test cancer detector is a move closer to beating the disease.
© Cover Media