• > 1,735,350 Americans diagnosed with cancer every year
  • Over 609,640 Americans die from cancer every year
  • Delayed diagnosis is the major cause for most of the deaths
  • Identifying genetic mutations could possibly detect cancers at early stage

Needless to say, cancer is currently one of the leading causes of death worldwide. And delayed diagnosis could be one of the main causes of all cancer-related deaths. New research into genetic mutation suggested the possibility of tests that can detect cancers at its early stage.

Per the most comprehensive study of cancer genetics to date, early signs of cancer show up years or even a decade before it gets diagnosed. The study included samples from more than 2,500 tumors and 38 cancer types. The findings revealed a vast unexpected window of opportunity to identify cancer at its earliest stages. The study was carried out as a part of the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Project.

“What’s extraordinary is how some of the genetic changes appear to have occurred many years before diagnosis, long before any other signs that cancer may develop, and perhaps even in apparently normal tissue,” The Guardian quoted the study’s co-author Clemency Jolly, based at the Francis Crick Institute in London. “Unlocking these patterns means it should now be possible to develop new diagnostic tests that pick up signs of cancer much earlier. There is a window of opportunity,” added the study’s co-lead author Peter Van Loo.

This discovery will not change cancer screening in the immediate term but has paved the way for opportunities towards identifying the seeds of cancer among those at risk.

The study pointed out that about 50% of the earliest mutations occurred in only 9 genes in particular. Such a relatively small pool of common genes that serve as triggers for cells to diverge from being healthy to turn cancer can be easily analyzed to spot cancer at its early stages.

Also, in the future, it might be possible to pick up such mutations using liquid biopsies to detect mutations in free-floating DNA carried in the blood which can hint the presence of tumors in other body parts.

According to recent estimates by, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people will die from the disease every year. The most common cancers include lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon and rectum cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, endometrial cancer, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, thyroid cancer, and liver cancer.

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new screening method cancer kkolosov - Pixabay