LONDON (TIP): A new blood test can predict if a woman would get breast cancer in the next two to five years and could create a “paradigm shift” in early diagnosis of the disease, reports a new study.

“The method is better than mammography, which can only be used when the disease has already occurred,” said Rasmus Bro, professor of chemometrics at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

“It is not perfect, but it is truly amazing that we can predict breast cancer years into the future,” Bro stressed.

While a mammography can detect newly developed breast cancer with a sensitivity of 75 percent, the new metabolic blood profile is able to predict the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer within the next two to five years with a sensitivity of 80 percent, the study noted.

The research was based on a population study of 57,000 people followed by the Danish Cancer Society over 20 years.

Inspired by research in food science, the researchers analysed all compounds a blood sample contains instead of – as is often done in health and medical science – examining what a single biomarker means in relation to a specific disease.

“When a huge amount of relevant measurements from many individuals is used to assess health risks – here breast cancer – it creates very high quality information. The more measurements our analyses contain, the better the model handles complex problems,” continued professor Bro.

The model does not reveal anything about the importance of the single biomarkers in relation to breast cancer, but it does reveal the importance of a set of biomarkers and their interactions, the researchers said.

“No single part of the pattern is actually necessary nor sufficient. It is the whole pattern that predicts the cancer,” noted Lars Ove Dragsted from the University of Copenhagen.

Managing stress uplifts mood in breast cancer patients

Providing women with skills to manage stress early in their breast cancer treatment can improve their mood and quality of life many years later, says a new study.

Published online in the journal Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest that benefits of stress management techniques during breast cancer treatment have long-term effects.

“The results indicate that these skills can be used to reduce distress and depressed mood and optimise quality of life across the survivorship period as women get on with their lives,” said lead author Jamie Stagl from the Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.