Still, Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer and executive vice president of the American Cancer Society, said he can foresee a cancer screening blood test becoming a routine part of medicine, although it may take 20 years or more to get there.
In some cases, Brawley said, doctors could potentially choose to use the screening test to evaluate the extent of cancer in a patient instead of performing a biopsy. For example, in certain types of lung cancer, a biopsy can be dangerous because a needle is inserted into the lung, he noted.
For now, Brawley said, the test is "extremely expensive and extremely preliminary, and it's probably several years before anybody's going to be able to buy this."
The study appears in the Nov. 28 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.
For more about cancer, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Victor Velculescu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, oncology, and co-director, Cancer Biology Program, Kimmel Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Otis Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer and executive vice president, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Nov. 28, 2012, Science Translational Medicine
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