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Blood test could detect early lung cancer

For lung cancer patients in Florida and across the U.S., getting an early diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death. Fortunately, a new blood test is under development that could make it easier for doctors to catch the disease in its earliest stages.

Researchers in the U.S. and Canada are studying the effectiveness of a blood test that analyzes free-floating DNA to diagnose early-stage lung cancer. There are currently 12,000 people enrolled in the ongoing study, called the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas, or CCGA; this analysis involved 127 participants diagnosed with stage I-IV lung cancer. The study found that three prototype sequencing assays had the ability to detect early-stage lung cancer between 38 and 51 percent of the time.

Genome sequencing blood tests, also known as "liquid biopsies," are currently used to help determine treatments for patients already diagnosed with lung cancer. However, until now, little research has been available to prove these tests could detect early cases of the disease. The researchers believe the test could eventually save thousands of lives and are currently attempting to replicate their findings on a larger group of participants. The results of the study will be presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

Failure to diagnose lung cancer could cause patients to suffer a worsened medical condition and even death. Patients who experience delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis may wish to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible doctor. If successful, this type of lawsuit might lead to a settlement that covers medical expenses and other damages. If a patient dies due to a doctor's failure to diagnose cancer, his or her family may also pursue legal action.

Source: Medical Xpress, "Blood test shows potential for early detection of lung cancer," Dana-Farber, June 3, 2018

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