Researchers at the University of Birmingham had developed a new technology that will help in the early diagnosis of liver cancer among people who are at a high risk. It is a blood test, which measures the protein levels combined with the computer analysis, which can detect typical; changes seen in the early liver cancer patients.
This discovery would save millions of lives because live cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases. If it were diagnosed in the early stage then it would be easy to treat the patient. The findings of the research were published in the British Journal of Cancer.
Hepatocellular carcinoma or liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world and it is widespread in East Asia. Usually people with cirrhosis of the liver are more prone to develop liver cancer and hence highly sensitive tests are required to detect the disease and prevent it among the patients suffering from liver cirrhosis.
Professor Philip Johnson said that through this research they were able to distinguish people who had early liver cancer from those who without the disease. This method is very accurate and sensitive than any of the present techniques such as the existing liver cancer blood test.
But further studies have to be performed so that the test can be performed on many people.
Apart from cirrhosis of the liver various disease that cause damage to the liver like the hepatitis B and C viruses, causing Hepatitis greatly increase the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Vaccinations against the hepatitis B virus are now administered to children to protect them against the disease, but there are millions of people who are already infected with the disease. In case of hepatitis C, there is no effective vaccine and the incidence of liver cancer still remains high in the global scenario.
At present high-risk groups can be screened with the help of ultrasound scans and test for the presence of a single protein in the blood called alpha-fetoprotein. Though it is a good indicator of advanced stages of the liver cancer, but it is a poor indicator of early stage liver cancer.