British researchers are developing a blood test that scans for telltale warning signs in their DNA, which could be even more accurate than x-rays at spotting the disease early.
They are now starting a trial at Charing Cross Hospital in London, and hope to take blood from 500 women who have been asked back after shadows were spotted on their mammograms.
The researchers will then compare the DNA in the blood of women who go on to be diagnosed with breast cancer with those found to be free of the disease, to see what DNA markers are consistent. They have already found some DNA markers that indicate when breast cancer is present.
Should this first human trial be successful, they will start a new one looking at whether the blood test could be used as a breast cancer screening tool for all middle-aged and older women.
Dr Jacqui Shaw, principal investigator from Leicester University, said: “This exciting research means we could one day have a blood test that detects the very early signs of cancer, meaning women could have an annual blood test rather than breast screening.”