A liquid biopsy test can safely detect as many as 26 undiagnosed cancers, according to a study of 9,900 women with no evidence or history of cancer. The findings show the test could be incorporated into routine clinical care in combination with conventional screening.
Overall, the blood test detected 26 cancers. While standard screening such as mammography or colonoscopy detected an additional 24 cancers. Together, screen-detected cancers (those detected through either blood testing or standard screening), accounted for more than half of the 96 cancers detected during the study period.
Diagnostic PET-CT most often localized cancers the new test detected. Surgeons could remove 12 of the cancers the blood test detected.
Researchers at the Ludwig Center at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, who developed the blood test, say the study, called DETECT-A (Detecting cancers Earlier Through Elective mutation-based blood Collection and Testing) represents the first time researchers used any liquid biopsy blood test clinically to screen for cancer in a population without previously detected cancer for the purpose of diagnosis and intervention—specifically treatment with the intent to cure cancer.
Author’s comment: Just a few days ago, my 37-year-old daughter asked me if I had ever seen anything like this pandemic in my lifetime. My response was an emphatic NO!! This is the most widespread and anxiety-provoking health crisis that I have ever seen. Most of us could never imagine a worldwide crisis that has put many of us in stay-at-home status. And threatens the world’s economies.
Observations About Handling Anxiety in Difficult Times
As a high-risk person, I know from my own situation how anxiety-provoking this pandemic can be. Especially now that millions of us are in isolation — either totally alone or staying with a limited number of family members. And with little outside contact, given all of the business, school, entertainment venue, and other shutdowns. Unfortunately, this looks like our living arrangements for a while.
For information on anxiety and loneliness during these stressful times, we turn to Business Insider and Futurity.
“While the implementation of social distancing —avoidinglarge gatherings and maintaining a distance from others — is crucial to preventing the coronavirus pandemic from intensifying, the practice could also cause a ‘social recession,’ or a collapse in social contact that especially affects populations who are most susceptible to loneliness and isolation, like the elderly,according to Vox.”
“And loneliness has proven to exacerbate health complications among the elderly: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently released a reportsuggestingseniors who experience social isolation or loneliness may face a higher risk of conditions including heart disease, depression, and mortality.”
“Use technology! For example, schedule regular video chat and phone dates with friends and family. Get creative. Watch movies, play online games, or participate in virtual book clubs.”
“Reach out to friends and relatives who are especially at risk during this time. Call older adults and people with chronic health conditions to give them meaningful social contact during these trying times.”
“A good strategy is distraction. If you find yourself thinking continuously about risk of illness, try to distract yourself by getting involved in an engaging activity. Or by picking up the phone to talk with a friend. Take advantage of nice weather and go for a walk in an open space. Get outside as much as possible if it’s safe to do so.”
“You can also try mindfulness meditation. There are several excellent mobile apps that can teach you how to practice meditation, such as the free appMindfulness Coach, which was developed by a team of psychologists at the Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD research. It walks users through the basics ofmindfulnessmeditation.”
“If you have trouble sleeping, check out the Veterans Affairs’ appCBT-I Coach(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia), which takes you through different strategies to help quiet your mind at night. If you find that anxiety or insomnia interferes with your ability to function during the day, seek professional help to reduce the impact of anxiety.”
Update from the author: For the most part, I stayed at home last week. Went out to the supermarket a couple of times and ate out once. However, as of today during my routine checkup, my endocrinologist (Dr. T) told me to stay at home. Period! And when Dr. T speaks, we listen. After all, he saved my life with his early discovery of my pancreatic cancer.
Food for Thought: What We Should Do Now – Cleanliness
The number one COVID-19 tip is overwhelming related to cleanliness. Washing our hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. Reducing how often we touch our faces. Washing down surfaces we and others touch. Even cleaning our cell phones. And more!
“The CDC recommends daily disinfection for frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. The CDC also recommends the use of detergent or soap and water on dirty surfaces prior to disinfection.”
“Whatever cleaning solution you use, let it remain in contact with the surface long enough to kill viruses and other pathogens. The time depends on the chemical. Don’t use different cleaning agents at the same time. Some, if mixed, can create dangerous and poisonous gases.”
“Bleach can be diluted with cold water to make an effective disinfectant against bacteria, fungi, and many viruses — including coronaviruses. Be sure to follow the directions on the label of your bleach.”
“You can dilute alcohol with water (or aloe vera to make hand sanitizer) but be sure to keep an alcohol concentration of around 70% to kill coronaviruses. Many hand sanitizers have a concentration of about 60% alcohol. And Lysol contains about 80%. These are all effective against coronaviruses.”
“Vinegar, tea tree oil, and other natural products are not recommended for fighting coronaviruses.”