Scientists have announced that a new blood test that can detect breast cancer years before the disease develops could be available in five to ten years. The test could help identify those at high risk so they can take preventive medicines and make healthier lifestyle choices.
The Telegraph reports that a ‘genetic switch’ has been identified, which doubles a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. This is influenced by factors including alcohol, smoking, pollution and hormones. These genetic changes could be detected in blood samples years before any symptoms of breast cancer developed.
The research, published in Cancer Research, included the analysis of blood samples from 1,380 women of various ages, 640 of whom went on to develop breast cancer. On average, the blood samples were taken three years before diagnosis and in some cases they pre-dated the discovery of breast cancer by up to 11 years.