Written by Medical Negligence Solicitor and Team Leader, Patricia Hitchen
Cancer is indiscriminate
We are all affected by cancer. It accounts for more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK and it affects everyone. Above all, it is indiscriminate of the lives it effects.
Cancer’s diagnosis is a protracted and challenging process with the disease remaining one of the leading causes of death. Consequently, blood tests have become a useful tool in diagnosing cancer.
American Research brings hope
Unfortunately, a lot of cancers are not caught until the later stages and this is largely due to a lack of effective diagnostic tools. However, there is hope.
American researchers have developed a ground-breaking new blood test that can detect cancerous cells with ‘a high degree of accuracy’. Moreover, it can spot more than 20 different types of cancer by noticing unique patterns.
Those behind the research believe the blood test will result in earlier treatment. The study’s lead author, Dr Geoffrey Oxnard of Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, part of Harvard Medical School, said:
Detecting even a modest per cent of common cancers early could translate into patients being able to receive more effective treatment.
Delays cost lives unnecessarily
If the test became available on the NHS this could become the key to screening people earlier for cancer treatment. In other words, it could save numerous lives.
I’ve subsequently seen the confusion and destruction that delays to cancer treatment cause. Delays cost lives unnecessarily.
We also know from international treatment, when cancer is diagnosed earlier, the tumours are smaller and the risk of that cancer spreading is reduced.
Let’s climb the cancer survival league table
The UK is two decades behind in the international league tables for cancer survival. To start climbing those tables we must start to detect cancer sooner and ensure the best treatment is readily available on the NHS. In doing so, will prevent cancer metastasising and increase the survival rate.
Finally, I’ve seen family members affected by bowel and breast cancer and witnessed first-hand the ravaging effects. I cannot stress enough the importance of early detection and treatment. Even if were able to detect even a small per cent of the common cancers that affect us all, we are opening the door to more effective treatment.