Lung Cancer Breakthroughs, Challenges, and the Importance of Better Screening for Early Detection

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BioMark Diagnostics – Lung Cancer Breakthroughs, Challenges, and the Importance of Better Screening for Early Detection

November is the Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and there is no better time to talk about the current state of technology and science as it relates to early detection of lung cancer.

As early detection is essential to successful treatment and management of lung cancer, the more you know and the earlier you detect it, the better your chances of survival.

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Lung Cancer

Every year, 1 out of 3 people diagnosed with cancer dies from it. Lung cancer can affect both men and women of any race or ethnicity. The 2020 estimated stats for incidence and numbers of deaths for lung and bronchial cancers globally topped figures of more than 2.2 million new cancer cases and 1.8 million deaths. In just the U.S. alone for 2020, the estimation of new cases exceeds 228,000 while deaths from the disease top 135,0001.

Smoking is the greatest cause of lung cancer accounting for 85% of all cases2. Other causes include environmental factors and non-smokers’ respiratory tract infections. Molecular and cellular advancements in early-stage diagnostics technology have improved the successful treatments, management, and survivability of lung cancers. People with a history of smoking, or those exposed to cigarette smoke as a child (like those who carry the gene for cystic fibrosis or those who smoke during their teenage years) are more likely to develop lung cancer later in life. Even those smokers who do not have a family history of the disease still have a higher risk than someone who has never smoked. Researchers and doctors also know that genetic mutations can increase an individual’s risk of developing the disease

Early-Stage Detection Using Liquid Biopsy

Early-stage detection identifies patterns unique to a patient’s tumors that might not emerge until more obvious and physical symptoms appear at later stages – which at that time may be untreatable. Early-stage detection technologies dramatically improves patient outcomes.

Liquid biopsy is a revolutionary technique that consists of the detection and isolation of metabolites, circulating tumor cells (CTCs), circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and exosomes, as a source of genomic and proteomic information in patients with cancer. The major advantage of liquid biopsy in cancer diagnosis is that the technique is minimally invasive, painless, does not have risk of complications, and gives faster results as compared to tumor biopsies. Some disadvantages and limitations of liquid biopsy include its lower accuracy and sensitivity as compared to tumor biopsies, and a lack of standardized protocols for isolation of components from the blood for mutation analysis

Lung Cancer Detection Challenges

Detecting lung cancer in its early stages isn’t easy. That’s because the disease shows no specific groups of symptoms or identifiable fingerprints until it has spread to and infected other organs. Because of this, lung cancer tends to be caught far too late in the game.

Until there is a universally adopted screening method that is accurate, accessible, and cost effective which can detect lung cancer earlier, researchers focus on building an understanding of how to keep cancers from spreading or metastasizing to other parts of the body.

Lung cancer therapies are improving, but can invasive, painful, and expensive especially when multiple rounds of treatments are needed. And catching cancer too late in the game increases the likelihood of recurrence with a never-ending cycle of trading one form of treatment for another.

Importance of Better Screening of Lung Cancer:

Despite the challenges, a better understanding of lung cancer genetics and how it spreads will lead to more effective screening tools in the future. This means we can identify these rare mutations sooner and use them to diagnose lung cancer early on – when it’s still treatable and manageable. The future potential for lung cancer detection has been acknowledged by anti-smoking groups, such as ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) who have called for greater awareness of screening tests that are like BioMark’s.

About BioMark Diagnostics Inc.

BioMark Diagnostics specializes in early detection of hard to detect and treat cancers, which include lung cancer, through its patented liquid biopsy assays. BioMark Diagnostics’ patented liquid biopsy and metabolomic analysis is a simple and accurate early-stage lung cancer detection solution. Such test is done on a sample of blood to look for cancer biomarkers, or metabolites, from a tumor that are circulating in the blood. A liquid biopsy may be used to help find cancer at an early stage. It may also be used to help plan treatment or to find out how well treatment is working or if cancer has come back.

Source:

  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2021. Atlanta; American Cancer Society: 2020
  2. https://www.lungcancercanada.ca/Lung-Cancer/Causes/Smoking.aspx

Disclaimer:

The science and understanding of cancer and cancer technologies is ever rapidly evolving. The information provided herein is our attempt to simplify and highlight current discoveries, developments, and understandings related to lung cancer. It is important that you seek proper medical advice or counsel from your physician or health provider.

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