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Blood test to ‘detect cancer years before illness’ hailed as major breakthrough

A blood test can reportedly detect certain types of cancer several years before a person falls ill. Credit: PA

A new blood test reportedly able to detect certain types of cancer several years before a person falls ill has been hailed as a major breakthrough.

The discovery came after trials on 1,400 patients found the procedure to identify DNA markers worked with up to 90% accuracy, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Though the test has been hailed a breakthrough, scientists and charities have pointed out that a 'cancer blood test' is still a long way off and won't become available for at least another five years.

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Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Our 100,000 genome project already makes England a world leader in applying the medical technologies of the future.

“Now, as the NHS marks its 70th anniversary, we stand on the cusp of a new era of personalised medicine that will dramatically transform care for cancer and for inherited and rare diseases.

“In particular, new techniques for precision early diagnosis would unlock enormous survival gains, as well as dramatic productivity benefits in the practice of medicine.”