Home breast test kit that could spot can­cer

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Femail -

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.’

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