A new study by researchers at the University of Southampton will look for ways to better predict the risk of getting cancer.
The five-year $3.2 million study, funded by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research, will analyze blood samples and other clinical information of 20,000 patients who have had lung or colon cancer in order to better understand which symptoms are the most predictive of those who ultimately are diagnosed with cancer. The study will also conduct genetic testing to see what kinds of information genetics can provide in determining the risk of cancer beyond clinical information.
Researchers believe this study can make the cancer screening process more efficient and less stressful for patients.
“We need to improve both the early referral rates for cancer but, at the same time, we do not want to overload the system with lots of people who are at a low risk of having cancer and may have negative side-effects of being over-investigated,” said lead researcher Paul Little. “Waiting for results and dealing with the possibility of having cancer can be a distressing and daunting time for patients and their families, our research aims to aid the patient pathway and help medical professionals, so every patient is dealt with in the most appropriate way and in a timely fashion.”
The ultimate goal, of course, is to be able diagnose patients with cancer as quickly as possible, because, with cancer especially, the earlier it is caught the better the prognosis for the patient.
[h/t Science Daily]
Image courtesy of University of Southampton