New test for lung cancer
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.