THOUSANDS of colorectal cancer patients could be spared chemotherapy each year with a new DNA blood test.
Around 14,000 Britons undergo chemotherapy each year for a bowel condition, the cancer afflicting Sun writer Dame Deborah James.
Many experience serious side effects, such as vomiting and diarrhea, mouth ulcers, and fatigue.
A study found that high-tech screening can halve the number of people who need the grueling treatment after surgery – without compromising survival.
The test could be rolled out to the NHS in just three years.
Study author Professor Jeanne Tie of the University of Melbourne said: “We can reduce the number of patients undergoing chemotherapy and it’s fantastic for the individual patient to be told they don’t need chemotherapy.”
The test works by scanning the blood after surgery for signs of tumor DNA that could allow the cancer to spread.
Prof. Tie’s study, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, tested the test in 455 patients with stage 2 or 3 colorectal cancer.
Only 15 percent of people who got the test were receiving chemotherapy, compared to 28 percent who weren’t tested.
Three years later, both groups had the same rate of cancer recurrence, showing that doctors were right in not giving all patients chemotherapy.
Prof Tie added: “One of the most exciting things is to see that patients are getting such good results – clinicians will have some doubts about that.”
Halving the number of treatments for bowel patients could affect 7,000 Brits a year and save the NHS £16m a year, experts said.
It would also free up NHS time and help clear the cancer backlog.
Professor David Cunningham, who is piloting the test at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, said: “This can help make healthcare delivery more efficient.
“If you can improve efficiency, you can affect backlog.”
https://www.the-sun.com/health/5494292/bowel-cancer-dna-test-to-spare-thousands-pointless-chemotherapy/ Colon cancer DNA test to save thousands from pointless chemotherapy