Researchers at the University of Nottingham have devised a "magic bullet" to detect very early cancers.
They have pioneered a microscopic "fat bubble" that can home in on disease sites and relay the location.
"This is very exciting. These bubbles can detect disease at a molecular level while existing scanning techniques, including X-rays and MRIs, can only pick things up at later stages, after there have been physical changes," the Daily Express quoted Ultrasound expert Dr Melissa Mather as saying.
The bubbles, called nano-transducers, are made from fat found in the membrane of naturally occurring cells.
They are injected into the blood and give off sound waves when exposed to an electric charge, allowing doctors to locate tumours.
Scientists say the technique, being co-developed with a team at the University of Queensland, could be available in GP surgeries within a decade.