New Test For Colon Cancer
There is a major advance in medical diagnosis that now offers a simpler, more efficient method for colorectal screening. According to MIT’s Technology Review, the test detects cancer due to a chemical change called methylation that occurs disproportionately in two key genes in colorectal tumor cells
The article points out that this promises wider spread testing for colon cancer. Since more people should be willing to have a simple blood test, the screening method could help identify those patients who need a more invasive, more diagnostically rigorous colonoscopy.
Technology Review stated the following:
The U.S. death toll from the condition is around 50,000 a year. The American Cancer Society recommends that men over the age of 50 have about one colonoscopy every 10 years, and that those at a higher risk be screened earlier and more often. Yet until now, only invasive colonoscopies and stool tests have been available and compliance by those deemed in need of screening is disappointingly low, at less than 50 percent.
Screening programs have been shown to cut deaths by allowing more victims to receive earlier, curative treatment so a simpler test could save lives by encouraging more people to get screened.
The developers of the new test, OncoMethylome Sciences, based in Liège, Belgium, say their method, which relies on one three-milliliter sample of blood, has the potential to boost compliance rates and conserve precious health service resources.