Ray Schilling is a blogger, retired physician, and cancer researcher and he has given his reasons on why it is so difficult to detect cancer on time. We will discuss these reasons below.
Ray says that finding cancer is not much different than finding a needle in a haystack. He also adds that there are some markers of cancer that can be detected in a blood test. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is one such marker and helps in aging men to detect prostate cancer in time so that it can be removed.
The expert said that research has been done on ovarian cancer and a test will soon be available for detection of the same. Other organs will also be getting their own screening tests. The human genome project resulted in the latest screening test called the Oncoblot test and it screens for 25 of the most common cancers.
The 25 cancers included in the Oncoblot test are: Bladder, Breast, Cervical, Colorectal, Endometrial, Esophageal, Gastric, Hepatocellular (liver), Kidney, Leukemia, Non-Small cell (lung), Lung Small cell, Lymphoma, Melanoma, Mesothelioma, Myeloma, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Prostate, Sarcoma, Squamous Cell, Follicular Thyroid, Papillary Thyroid, Testicular Germ Cell, and Uterine.
One problem is that the test is expensive. It costs $1,000 in the US and health plans do not cover it. But, the test has the ability to scan for these 25 types of cancers 6 to 8 years before they would normally be detected clinically. The $1,000 price puts an individual test at $40.
Ray believes that this price will come down in the future. But, he says that the important thing is that this test is available right now and it is highly specific and sensitive. The FDA approval is expected to come through soon.