(fashion) A quick blood test for smokers could slash death rates from lung cancer, research suggests.
A British study involving 12,200 people found the test detected cancer more than four years before tumours showed up on scans.
The trial, conducted by scientists at universities of Dundee and St Andrews, found far more people were diagnosed at an early stage of cancer using the blood test.
A quick blood test for smokers could slash death rates from lung cancer, research suggests
The research – presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer in Barcelona – found that 41 per cent of patients who received the blood test and then a CT scan were diagnosed at phase one or two, when tumours are still treatable.
For those who only received a CT scan following the arrival of symptoms – as is standard practice on the NHS – 27 per cent were diagnosed at these stages.
Experts say early diagnosis is key to survival – allowing quicker treatment, better outcomes and fewer deaths.
Of the 6,087 people who received the blood test, 17 died within two years. There were 24 deaths among the 6,121 who did not receive the test, which is roughly a 29 per cent difference.
Researchers say these numbers are too small to be certain that it will save lives, but they expect that after a few more years of follow-up they will see bigger numbers and a more significant difference.
Oncimmune, the UK firm behind the test, plans to submit its findings to the UK National Screening Committee.
Eventually, bosses hope their test will form the first NHS lung cancer screening