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When a patient comes in for a routine exam, their doctor can detect signs of cancer, but just to make sure he might send his patient to get a CT scan or an ultrasound depending on where the cancer is located. Once they see something, they might schedule the patient in for a biopsy.
This is a very painful procedure because they extract a piece of tissue from your body and analyze it, by doing so they determine how advanced your cancer is. Fortunately for lung, colon, and blood cancers, now there’s another option, a cancer blood test, or liquid biopsy.
These patients can get a liquid biopsy, which is more accurate and it allows doctors to see results before even getting a CT scan. With a blood test doctors can detect how advanced the cancer is and see if the treatment you are receiving is working.
In a new study conducted by the National Cancer Society, they used a blood biopsy with 126 lymphoma patients and they found that the blood test could detect the cancer coming back 3 months in advance before it was noticeable in CT scans.
As tumors grow or spread they shed pieces of DNA into your bloodstream that is circulating, so they can see if the tumor has DNA or not. This liquid biopsy is more accurate and it allows doctors to see results before seeing anything in CT scans. These cancer cells are detected early before they become tumors, which is amazing news.
It gives doctors the heads-up months in advance to see if the treatment is working and if it’s not, they can adjust the treatment accordingly. So far doctors can use this liquid biopsy to detect lung, colon, and blood cancers, where this type blood test has seen accurate results. They’re currently studying and continuing their research to see if other cancers can be detected as well.