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Colon cancer spotted by blood test
June 7th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Colon cancer spotted by blood test

For the field of cancer research, a reliable blood test for colorectal cancer would be a revelation. Currently, the condition is diagnosed through stool blood tests and uncomfortable colonoscopies, but the dream is to be able to find genetic markers predictive of such cancers in order to intervene early or follow patients in their treatment.

A study published Friday in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics suggests that a blood test for colon cancer could be on the horizon. But the research is still preliminary and the test is not currently recommended as a screening tool, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 20, and men are slightly more likely to get it than women, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2013, it is expected to cause more than 50,000 deaths.

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