About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. This is the second most common cancer to afflict American women after skin cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3.1 million U.S. women have a history of breast cancer as of 2017. Breast cancer death rates decreased from 1989 to 2007, due to increased awareness of the disease and significant advances in the screening process and in imaging technologies. Since 2007, however, death rates have stabilized in women younger than 50. The power of overcoming cancer lies in early detection of the disease, and the ability to accurately catch breast cancer remains an obstacle in patients with difficult-to-interpret and unrepresentative mammograms.
Issues involved with imaging procedures – the standard procedure used for breast cancer detection – include false positives, which occur in the event of benign tumors mimicking more dangerous ones, as well as the range of patients’ breast density that often obscures cancer.
Josie R. Alpers, M.D., a radiologist at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center explains, “When a mammogram yields an abnormal result, the challenge for every clinician is to decide which patients need follow-up, further imaging or biopsy.”
The uncertainty from these imaging processes increases patient anxiety and health care costs. Costs can increase due to follow-up appointments and unnecessary, invasive biopsies. To combat the problems from inaccurate imaging results and to improve the overall diagnosis, Provista Diagnostics has developed a solution to reduce biopsies and rates of false positives when an evaluation is challenging: a blood test.
The first protein-based blood test to provide precise and early identification of breast cancer, Videssa Breast requires a simple blood draw and functions as a complement to imaging procedures for the best results. Clinical Breast Cancer’s article, “A Non-Invasive Blood-Based Combinatorial Proteomic Biomarker Assay to Detect Breast Cancer in Women Under the Age of 50 Years,” details a new study examining the effectiveness of the blood test, concluded from a pool of 545 women, ages 25-50. The study found that imaging processes, including mammography, ultrasound (US), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and 3-D tomosynthesis led to recommended follow-up procedures for 341 participants to eventually detect 30 cases of cancer, a 90.6 percent false positive rate. Videssa Breast proposed follow-ups for 111 women, a 67 percent reduction in the rate of false positives.
The Chief Medical Officer of Provista Diagnostics Judith Wolf, M.D., who is not affiliated with this study, praises its findings and its positive implications for patients and doctors:
“With about 1.6 million breast biopsies performed each year, the implications of a blood test that can help clinicians confidently rule out breast cancer and avoid a potentially unnecessary biopsy are tremendous…This research shows that Videssa Breast can be a powerful new tool in the diagnostic toolbox for clinicians.”
This test’s potential goes beyond the cutting edge technology, as patients often experience extreme emotional and personal distress in the diagnostic procedures of breast cancer. By reducing the ambiguity involved with the disease prognosis and current level of detection, Videssa Breast has the potential to relieve individual emotional stressors and ameliorate difficulties of diagnosis.
Read more here – “Blood-Based Breast Cancer Detection Test May Help Avoid Biopsy,”(John Nosta, Forbes)