Spit Test for Prostate Cancer Could Save Thousands of Lives

At-home saliva tests for prostate cancer may soon become a crucial tool in early detection, according to a landmark study that promises to “turn the tide” on the disease. The new test significantly outperforms the PSA blood tests currently used by the NHS.

According to the The Institute of Cancer Research, London:

 “BARCODE 1 study calculated the risk of prostate cancer from DNA extracted from saliva – called a polygenic risk score. For the men with the highest risk score, the study found this to be a better tool than the blood test which measures levels of a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which can be elevated if someone has prostate cancer.

The PSA test detects low-risk cancers, the  current PSA test is used to identify men who are at higher risk of prostate cancer – due to their age or ethnicity – and men presenting with symptoms. Men with a high PSA result will be sent for further tests to detect cancer. The PSA test falsely indicates prostate cancer in men three out of four times, and detects cancers which grow so slowly they are unlikely to ever be life-threatening – meaning that men may undergo unnecessary MRI scans, invasive biopsies, and treatments.

Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust trialled their new DNA test which looks for genetic variants linked to prostate cancer.’

Revolutionary At-Home Screening

Middle-aged men could soon be screened for prostate cancer using a simple at-home saliva test. This new tool was found to be more effective at detecting aggressive cancers than traditional blood tests in a trial involving 6,000 men from the UK.

How It Works

The test analyses DNA in saliva samples to identify genetic markers associated with prostate cancer. Developed by researchers at the Institute for Cancer Research in London, it detects 130 genetic variations linked to the disease. This “simple, cheap, spit test” could be part of the first national screening programme, potentially saving thousands of lives by catching the disease early.

The Impact of Early Detection

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, causing 12,000 deaths and 52,000 cases each year in the UK. Currently, there is no NHS screening programme for men without symptoms, and the available blood test is too unreliable for routine use. The trial, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago, highlights the saliva test’s accuracy in identifying men at high risk for prostate cancer.

Trial Details

The study involved 6,142 men aged 55 to 69, recruited via GP surgeries. Participants were sent a saliva testing kit, and their samples were analysed for genetic markers to calculate an individual “risk score.” Men with the highest risk scores were invited for further screening, including MRI scans and prostate biopsies.

Link to Research

For more details on the research, visit: Institute for Cancer Research website; spit test for prostrate cancer.

This new genetic testing method holds promise for transforming prostate cancer screening, potentially making early detection more accessible and reliable.

Affected by Delayed Prostrate Cancer Diagnosis?

We have experienced dealing with all types of medical negligence claims including situations where your GP failed to refer you promptly to a specialist for detection and treatment of the prostrate resulting in greater intervention than what otherwise might have been or poor outcomes.  If that is the case we can help you obtain compensation for the pain and suffering for you and your family.  Get legal support now.  Visit our webpage; Delayed Prostrate Cancer Diagnosis to find out how to claim compensation

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