Breast Cancer Diagnosis Breakthrough

Recent research led by University College London has identified a cancer signature in DNA changes apparent in blood tests. These signal a possibly fatal breast cancer symptom up to one year earlier than current medical diagnosis techniques which may still test negative in current breast screening.

“This may enable individualized treatment, which could even begin in the absence of radiological evidence in the breast,’ UCL’s Professor Martin Widschwendler who co-authored the study has stated.

Such early detection and consequent early hormone treatment could mean a difference between life and death. It would also eliminate the possibility of over-diagnosis and subsequent debilitating treatment of slow growing but benign tumours that are frequently detected in mammography screening.

Further study and trials are necessary before this early detection process can be made available on the NHS or in USA.

Latest statistics show that 1 in 8 women in UK and USA will be diagnosed with breast cancer at sometime in their lifetime. Breast and lung cancers are, in fact, the foremost cause of female cancer death in these countries.

The incidence of breast and lung cancer is in fact increasing, thanks to the growth and aging of the population, together with an increasing prevalence of risk factors associated with economic growth and urbanization, such as smoking, obesity, diet, and physical inactivity.

As with all cancers, the risk of developing breast, (or other), cancer depends on a number of factors that are possibly outside your immediate control.

You can however eliminate the breast cancer risk by cutting alcohol out altogether, or at least down to the national guidelines, to ensure that you are not one of the 12,000 new cases of cancer in UK each year caused by alcohol which include cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, oesophagus, breast, live and bowel.

Post-menopausal women who are overweight or obese are also at increased breast cancer risk.  Since both alcohol and obesity significantly increase the risk factor for a large number of cancers for both sexes at any age, you can do yourself a big favour if you over-indulge on the booze and/or are overweight by changing your lifestyle.

  1. Cut down on the booze!
  2. Change your diet to lose weight!
  3. Get out and stretch those legs!

Further Reading

Genome Medicine

Methylation patterns in serum DNA for early identification of disseminated breast cancer.

Science Daily

Lung cancer and breast cancer; the leading cause of female cancer death in developed countries.

Stop Cancer

Obesity and Cancer

BBC Online News

Alcohol and Health.


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