Home breast test kit that could spot cancer
WOMEN could one day check for breast cancer at home using a kit similar to a pregnancy test.
The technology, which is being developed by British scientists, will look for telltale signs in fluid that naturally discharges from the breast.
This ‘nipple aspirate fluid’ can contain proteins produced by cancerous cells in the milk ducts, researchers at the University of Bradford found.
Cancer expert Dr Chris Sutton said testing this fluid might be able to provide an early warning system, alerting women to cell changes that occur before tumours start to grow. This could also help doctors decide if a woman has a harmless or aggressive condition, informing treatment.
Many patients go under the knife for a pre-cancerous condition called DCIS – abnormal cells in milk ducts – even though invasive cancer never develops in about half of cases.
Dr Sutton’s team has identified about ten proteins indicative of cancer by looking at samples from 100 women.
He said the findings could first lead to hospital tests, but added: ‘The ultimate objective is that this can be home-based, like a pregnancy test.’