New test for lung can­cer

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Health -

LUNG can­cer pa­tients are to be of­fered a new blood test that can tell doc­tors whether their treat­ment is work­ing or if the dis­ease is likely to spread.

It re­places in­va­sive biop­sies, where tu­mour pieces are re­moved from the lungs us­ing a nee­dle fed through the chest.

The test, called EGFR mu­ta­tion test­ing, looks for frag­ments of tu­mour DNA in the blood­stream. By study­ing spe­cific al­ter­ations in this DNA, doc­tors can see how the dis­ease is re­act­ing to can­cer ther­a­pies.

The test gives re­sults within a week, mean­ing that doc­tors can quickly switch drugs if nec­es­sary. Doc­tors at pri­vate hos­pi­tals in Man­ches­ter, Cardiff, Lon­don and Cam­bridge are us­ing the break­through test, which also has the back­ing of NHS spend­ing watch­dogs.

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