It's often said that preventive steps, heightened awareness and early detection can dramatically improve the prognosis for a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. Taking this message to heart, a Norwegian company has developed a blood test that may detect breast cancer before standard screening methods are able to do so.
The test, which was developed by Diagenic ASA, identifies dangerously high levels of certain chemicals that are linked with breast cancer through a simple blood sample, Telegraph.co.uk reports.
Whereas x-rays can only uncover a tumor after substantial growth, doctors believe the new test will be able to detect a tumor about the size of a small seed, prior to any symptoms appearing in the patient.
"This test will be particularly useful for younger women who are at risk of developing breast cancer, as they tend to have denser breasts which mammograms cannot easily penetrate," Dr James Mackay, an oncologist at University College London, told the news source.
He added, "What we are suggesting is that they have a mammogram and combine it with this test so that there is a greater chance of detection."
While many researchers believe that blood testing protocols are still about five years away, the American Cancer Society suggests that after the age of 40 a woman should have a mammogram on an annual basis.