Can a blood test detect cancer in the body?
Death is inevitable. But the course of the death can be watched out for? Correct!?
Am sure many of you reading this article, wish to die a death that is calm and painless. For sure, no one wants to experience a disease charging you of death.
So, what according to you is most critical in the progression and management of a disease??
Isn’t an early, timely and accurate diagnosis??
Yes, according to me it definitely is true.
Diagnosis of a disease plays the most critical role in deciding the path that the management of the disease might take. This fact holds true for not only cancer but every progressive disease.
How far have we come in terms of diagnosis of cancer?
A direct answer to this will be- “a long way” however there is no single test that can accurately diagnose cancer.
A comprehensive evaluation of the patient, which includes inquiring about the patients’ thorough history and physical examination along with screening methods. The different types of cancer diagnosis method include; laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging, endoscopic examination, genetic tests and tumor biopsies.
Screening methods were introduced in order to allow for early and effective diagnosis of some cancer. Screening serves well for people with no symptoms of ill health and disease. Therefore helps in early detection of cancer. Common examples include, Pap smear test for cervical cancer or a mammography for breast cancer.
Recent studies have shown that blood test has demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity for cancer detection. As is said, early cancer can be detected, the better it can be treated. But is unfortunate that cancers remain undiagnosed until the later stages which serves as a roadblock in the management of cancer. A blood test may include looking for cell counts, measurement of blood biochemistry and markers of inflammation. A blood test also help to check for protein markers which essentially help in the process of diagnosis.
How does a blood test work in cancer detection?
When a cancerous tumor is formed, small fragments of mutated DNA and proteins are released into the bloodstream. These work as markers for the detection of cancer. The DNA fragments are further tested for their specificity towards cell free DNA from tumor cells.
Inclusive but may not be comprehensive, but recent studies have shown that about 8 cancers can be diagnosed with a single blood test. These include cancers such as-breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer and liver cancer. The tumor markers such as Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) Testing, AFP (Alpha-Fetoprotein) Testing, Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125) Testing, Cancer Antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) Testing, Cancer Antigen 27.29 (CA 27.29) Testing and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing. However, this does not state that “alone a blood test” is a good enough diagnostic tool for any cancer. An effective and accurate diagnosis of cancer involves different forms of blood or laboratory tests, screening methods, CT or MRI scans, tumor biopsies. Different genetic tests are also being used to look for mutations in the genes, which could be suggestive of an increased risk for cancer.
Therefore, regular physical examination and whole body checkup is a good way to keep a check on ones’ health graph. Any abrupt spikes in any of vitals can showcase the need to meet with a doctor and take certain diagnostic tests. Remember, an early detection is the most effective way to fight cancer.