New Test Could Find Cancer Earlier
From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.
Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world.
When it comes to cancer, the sooner you know you have it, the better your chances of surviving.
A new blood test could change the way doctors and researchers find cancer in patients. Researchers say the test could provide clues to the early forms of the disease.
Scientists at the University of Swansea in Wales came up with the idea.
Gareth Jenkins is a professor at the university. He says he and his team did not look for cancer. They instead looked for a by-product of cancer. They looked for, what Jenkins calls, the collateral damage of cancer – the damage left by the disease.
In this case, the by-product was mutated red blood cells.
"In this blood test we don't measure the presence of cancer, we measure the presence of mutated red blood cells which are the collateral damage that occurs -- a by-product of the cancer developing."
The researchers used normal laboratory equipment to perform the tests. This equipment looks for changes in the structure of millions of red blood cells. Those mutated cells lack a surface protein that healthy cells normally have.
"The essence of the test is looking for very rare cells which have picked up a mutation. The number of mutated red blood cells in a healthy person are around 5 or so mutant cells per million; so, you have to look at millions of red blood cells to detect those rare events. These numbers increase in cancer patients -- they go up to 40 or 50 mutants on average."
The researchers tested blood from about 300 people, all of whom have cancer of the esophagus. Patients with esophageal cancer have high levels of mutated red blood cells. Jenkins says that at this point he is not sure if other cancers would produce similar results.
"We've only been looking at esophageal cancer patients. ‘Do other types of cancer patients have high levels of these mutant red blood cells as well?' We don't know the answer to that question at present."
The hope is that the new test and other non-invasive methods could one day become part of commonly used medical methods. He says that using a battery, or series, of tests will be the best way to find out if a person has cancer.
"A battery of tests, based on different principles looking at blood, looking at different bodily fluids -- breath, urine -- will be the best way of getting a comprehensive view of whether an individual might or might not have cancer."
These new technologies could save millions of lives.
I'm Anna Matteo.
1.A battery of 一系列
We give a battery of tests to each patient.
2.esophageal cancer 食管癌
Cigarette smoking is a major cause of esophageal cancer in the United States.
3.find out 发现
Would you call me as soon as you find out?
4.on average 平均
On average, American firms remain the most productive in the world.
1.Scientists at the University of Swansea in Wales came up with the idea.
came up with 提出
I came up with this dumb idea
He came up with what seemed like a clever wheeze.
2.When it comes to cancer, the sooner you know you have it, the better your chances of surviving.
When it comes to 提到；就...而论
When it comes to photography, I'm not an adept.
They are inexperienced when it comes to decorating.
最新一项血液检查可以改变医生及研究员检查癌症的途径 。研究人员表示血液检查能够发现癌症早期的线索 。
加雷斯·詹金斯（Gareth Jenkins）是该大学的教授 。他表示自己与团队的研究目的并不是癌症 。而是癌症带来的影响 。詹金斯表示，其研究的重点是癌症的间接伤害，即癌症带来的后果 。
研究人员利用常规实验仪器进行试验 。他们利用仪器观察无数红细胞结构的变化 。病变的红细胞缺少正常红细胞所拥有的表面蛋白 。
“血液检查的核心在于检测少量病变的细胞 。身体健康的人体内每百万细胞中约测出5个病变红细胞 。因此，需要对数百万红细胞进行检查才能发现这一罕见事件 。而癌症患者体内病变的红细胞数量较多，平均约40到50个 。”
研究人员对300多位食管癌患者进行血检 。食管癌患者体内的病变红细胞数量较高 。詹金斯表示，尚不确定其他癌症患者是否也存在类似症状 。
“我们仅对食管癌患者进行了检查 。‘其他癌症患者体内的病变红细胞数量是否也较高？’目前，我们还不清楚 。”
希望这一新型血检及其他无创性检查能够成为常见的医疗方法 。他表示一系列检测方法将成为诊断患者是否患癌的最佳方法 。