Cancer Test

A new Cancer test by scientists can show you up to 13 years in advance that you will develop cancer. It can do it with 100% accuracy too.

Harvard and Northwestern university have discovered that small changes to the body are already taking place more than a decade before the cancer is diagnosed.

It seems that protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, called telomeres, have hugely more wear and tear in those who go on to develop cancer than those who don’t.

Indeed they look like the chromosome ends of someone 15 years older.

Much Shorter

The telomeres are much shorter than they should be in those who go on to get cancer. They stop shrinking around 4 years before the person gets cancer.

Every single one of those that this happened to went on to get cancer.

Said Lifang Hou, who is leading the study, “Understanding this pattern of telomere growth may mean it can be a predictive biomarker for cancer.

“Because we saw a strong relationship in the pattern across a wide variety of cancers, with the right testing these procedures could be used to eventually diagnose a wide variety of cancers.”

Knowing or Not Knowing

Of course, some people may not want to know that they are 100% likely to get cancer in the future but it means that they could make lifestyle changes like taking more exercise, giving up smoking and making dietary chances to slow down its advance – before they even get it.

There may also be the problem that their insurance premiums go through the roof. They may even become uninsurable.

Matt Sanders, of GoCompare, said “If this test showed 100 per cent probability over a certain number of years then it could affect premiums. It would be the equivalent of living in a high theft area for someone looking for home insurance,” he said.

“Premiums could rise to a point where some people would simply be priced out. However if it was shown that diagnosing earlier could prevent cancer then that could bring down premiums.”

Different Cancers

The study looked at 792 people over a 13 year period in which 135 of them were eventually diagnosed with cancer including leukaemia, skin, prostate and lung cancers.

Scientists found that the telomeres of those who were to get cancer shortened and aged much faster than those who would not get cancer – but then suddenly stopped shortening and fraying about 4 years before the person actually gets cancer.

Telomeres shorten every time a cell divides.The older someone is the shorter their telomeres. However, in those that are going to get cancer their telomeres shorten more rapidly. Their telomeres are those of someone 15 years older.

Said Dr Hou“We found cancer has hijacked the telomere shortening in order to flourish in the body”.


Although, at the moment, this test is purely predictive, and can only advise people to have healthier lifestyles in order to slow the start of the cancer, it is hoped that they will be able to do something about it in the future.

After all, if they know the cause of something, they are halfway to the cure.

Indeed, the team are hoping that if they can work out how cancer hijacks the cells they could also develop something that causes the cancer sells to self-destruct without affecting healthy cells.

Wouldn’t that be something?

That is, to be able to work out up to 13 years in advance that someone is going to get cancer – and then provide them with the cure for it more than a decade before it is going to happen?

They say that to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

That, hopefully, will become true here.