Being six months, or annually. Such tests
Being told you have cancer might just be the scariest or deadliest thing to happen to anyone. Most people believe it is the end of a person’s life. The message scientists preach about cancer prevention and possible treatment is early detection. This involves having to go for series of tests to check for each different types of cancer. These tests are advised to be done either every six months, or annually. Such tests to screen for cancer include; **Radiology tests:** This involves taking a picture of the insides of your body in order to check for cancer cells. **Endoscopy:** In this method, an endoscope (a tube-like instrument) is inserted into the patient’s body to check for abnormalities. **Biopsy and Cytology tests:** If the patient had noticed a suspicious lump, tissue biopsy is usually done. Tissue biopsy involves extracting cells from a patient for closer examination and possible detection of cancerous cells. Tissue biopsy is not only a painful, risky and method, the incision is not in any way friendly. It cannot also be performed on every patient as not all tumors are accessible and some health conditions of the patient can testify them from doing a tissue biopsy. Pap smear, stool occult tests, colonoscopy, amongst others are also some other tests used to screen or check for cancer. This drawback to these methods of cancer testing is the fact they only detect either just one or at most three types of cancer in the human body. But then something new has just been discovered. Researchers have now developed a new test that can help in detecting eight different types of cancer! This newly discovered test is known as **CancerSEEK.** What CancerSEEK does is, it searches the bloodstream for some compounds (DNA and proteins) that are indicators of early signs of cancer. These compounds are released into the bloodstream by cancer cells. ## AdvantagesThe advantage of CancerSEEK goes beyond just being able to detect up to eight different types of cancer. It predicted that it should be able to detect cancer even before the symptoms start appearing! CancerSEEK has shown to be able to screen for some specific cancer that has no method of testing yet. It can also detect two of the most evasive cancer of all times; pancreatic cancer and liver cancer. CancerSEEK so far rarely gives a positive diagnosis to people without cancer and is pretty a reliable form of testing for cancer.## How does CancerSEEK work?The normal cells of every healthy person usually releases DNA and proteins into the bloodstream. When a person has cancer, the cancer cells also releases DNA and protein into the person’s bloodstream, but this time, in a mutated and abnormal form totally different from the normal ones released by other cells in the human body. In the early stage, these new DNA and protein are so minute that it is very hard to detect. Hence making it difficult to detect if a person has cancer or not.But then CancerSEEK was developed to be extremely sensitive to any of such DNA and proteins produced by cancer cells. It can detect a single abnormal DNA fragment in the midst of about 10,000 normal ones. CancerSEEK makes use of artificial intelligence which allows it to sort through the entire biomarkers of DNA and protein in a person’s blood sample and detects any slight modification that is not normal. ## Clinical Trials When tried out on patients, CancerSEEK showed 70% success rate on 1000 patients that have previously been diagnosed with cancer. On new patients (those with very early stage of cancer) CancerSEEK was able to provide 40% cancer detection accuracy. This weakness of the test is being worked on as researchers are trying to increase the biomarkers on CancerSEEK in order to increase sensitivity and accuracy of the test. Dr Joshua Cohen, a lead study author, is positive that this test would turn out to be so easy that it could be done along with any other lab tests such as a cholesterol test. He also stated that the test has to undergo tryouts on a larger scale before it can be put out for clinical use.