Researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a blood test that could one day screen for many types of cancer.
The screening was designed to identify eight different types of cancer. Certain cancers seem to be easier to detect than others. For instance, the test found ovarian cancer 98 percent of the time, but only caught breast tumors 33 percent of the time.
The test isn't ready for doctors' offices just yet. All the tests were done on people already diagnosed with cancer. For it to be useful, scientists need to prove that it can be used to find undiagnosed cancer.
And that's what's important. Some cancers take 20 to 30 years to become symptomatic. By then, they're hard to treat because they've already spread. Early detection like this blood test potentially offers could save a lot of lives.
The researchers have already launched their next study to see if the test can detect cancer in people who don't have any symptoms yet.
They hope to someday offer a cancer screening test that costs less than $500 to take.