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Breast cancer can be identified by blood test

Great news for science. Breast cancer can now be identified by blood test

By Paula Bourguignon

The most common type of cancer among women can now be diagnosed through a blood test. The sample was made with 5 ml of blood.

This very early novelty promises to speed up the diagnosis of breast tumors, especially in younger women, revolutionizing cancer treatment.

According to a study, developed by researchers from different countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States and India, and published in the scientific journal Cancers, this screening will allow detecting the presence of the tumor earlier and also reduce the dependence on mammograms.

“Which does not mean that the imaging exam will no longer be important. Although the blood test has been shown to be efficient, it cannot pinpoint where the tumor is located and, therefore, cannot completely replace mammograms, which continue to be recommended annually for women over 40 years of age”, commented the Nucleus mastologist. Specialized in Oncology (Neon), Laís Gueiros.

The exam was able to diagnose, on average, 92% of breast cancers and this percentage is slightly higher than the success rate of mammograms.

As the level increased, the higher the accuracy rate. In stages 3 or 4, the hit rate reached 100%, as the concentration of CTCs in the blood tends to be quite high.

On the other hand, when the tumor was at stage 1, the hit rate was slightly lower, estimated at 89%. Meanwhile, at stage 0, the index was calculated correctly in 70% of cases. One advantage, at least during the study, is that no false positives were identified, that is, cases in which the result is positive but the cancer does not exist.

In total, about 9,600 blood samples from healthy women and another 548 samples from people with breast cancer were used.


Breast cancer can be detected in the early stages, in most cases, through some more frequent symptoms. The main manifestation of the disease is the lump, fixed and usually painless.

The nodule is present in almost all cases when the cancer is perceived by the woman herself.

Other signs and symptoms are: reddened, retracted or orange-peel-like breast skin; changes in the nipple (nipple); small lumps in the armpits or neck; and abnormal fluid leakage from the breasts. These signs and symptoms should always be investigated, but they may be related to benign breast diseases.

Relatively rare before the age of 35, its incidence increases progressively above this age, especially after the age of 50.


Mammography is the X-ray of the breasts made by an X-ray machine (mammography). The exam is able to show suspicious changes even before the tumor is palpable. However, confirmation of breast cancer is only made by histopathological examination, which is an analysis in the laboratory of a small part of the lesion removed through biopsy.

* Local treatment: surgery and radiotherapy (in addition to breast reconstruction).
*Systemic treatment: chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biological therapy.

Risk factors

The risk factors for breast cancer are related to the following situations:

* Advanced age, mainly over 50 years old;
* Obesity and overweight after menopause;
* Sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity;*
* Consumption of alcoholic beverages;
* Excessive exposure to ionizing radiation;
* First menstruation before 12 years of age;
* First pregnancy after age 30;
* Menopause after age 55;
* Not having had a child;
* Use of hormonal contraceptives;
* Family history of breast cancer;
* Family history of ovarian cancer.

Is there a cure?

A stage 3 or 4 breast cancer has a 30-40% chance of being completely cured. But that’s no reason to give up or think that your case has no cure – with proper treatment and willpower, every obstacle is overcome.

But even cancers in more advanced stages can respond well to treatment, and can be operated on and removed completely.

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