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A promising method identifies cancer signs seven years before the disease is diagnosed

A promising study revealed that a simple blood test can identify signs of 19 different types of cancer 7 years before symptoms appear.

Oxford University scientists studied blood samples from nearly 44,000 people from the UK Biobank, including more than 4,900 individuals who were later diagnosed with cancer.

They compared cancer patients' blood proteins to those from people who had not been diagnosed with cancer, and identified 618 proteins associated with 19 types of cancer, including colon, lung, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and liver.

The study, funded by Cancer Research UK, revealed 107 blood proteins linked to cancers “diagnosed more than 7 years after the patient’s blood sample was collected,” and 182 proteins strongly linked to cancer diagnosis within 3 years.

The scientists concluded that some of these proteins could be used to detect cancer early and may provide new treatment options, although more study is needed.

Dr Keren Baber, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, said: “To save more lives from cancer, we need to better understand what happens in the early stages of the disease, and how proteins in our blood can influence cancer risk.”

A second study, linked to research into the genetic data of more than 300,000 cancer cases, found that there are 40 proteins in the blood that affect the risk of nine types of cancer.

The team found that while altering these proteins may increase or decrease someone's chances of developing cancer, in some cases it may lead to unintended side effects.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: The Guardian - published on 18-05-2024

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