The blood test has been hailed as a ‘game changer’ for early detection breast cancer earlier than mammography.

About 5 ml of blood is taken for processing to see if circulating tumor cells (CTC) can be detected.

Even in minimal amounts, the presence of CTC in the blood is a sure sign of cancer in the early stages.

Doctors hope that this test will help detect breast cancer at an early stage, especially among young women who are not invited to their first mammogram before the age of 50.

Unlike mammography, which uses X-ray equipment, the Trucheck test can be done with minimal resources.

This test has been found to detect 92% of breast cancers – 5% more than mammograms.

A young woman undergoes a mammogram, which uses radiation to produce x-ray images

(Getty Images)

For stage 1 breast cancer, its accuracy was 89 percent. Even for stage 0, when precancerous lesions can develop into disease, 70 percent of cases were detected.

According to a controlled study involving blood samples from 9,632 healthy women and another 548 with breast cancer, its success rate was higher in late-stage breast cancer.

It found 96 percent of cases where women had stage 2 breast cancer. It also identified 100 percent of stage 3 or 4 breast cancers as tumors that have spread to other parts of the body and more CTCs in the blood.

There were no false positives — when a test shows a case of cancer when it actually doesn’t exist — although another study found a few. About one in ten positive mammography x-rays is a false positive.

Breast cancer surgeon Professor Kefah Mokbel, who took part in the study and is based at the London Breast Institute at Princess Grace Hospital, said the blood test could be a “game changer” as it “could revolutionize breast cancer screening”.

Dr Tim Crook of the London Clinic, a private hospital that offers the test to patients, said the test could replace mammograms and potentially solve a “huge problem”. [of] late diagnosis of cancer in this country.’

He even said the test could eventually be used to screen for multiple cancers in a single person using a single blood sample.

Women in England are encouraged by the NHS to have their first mammogram at the age of 50 and then every three years until the age of 71.

But last year, only 62 percent of eligible women — about 1.2 million in total — got an X-ray. Around 750,000 did not, partly because the coronavirus pandemic caused backlogs and delays in NHS services.

The results of the blood tests are published in the journal Oncological diseases.

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