During 2020, the UK National Health Service designed a pilot blood test to see if 50 different types of cancer could be detected through the simple test. If the test proves successful, it could help improve early detection of some of the most deadly forms of cancer. The test itself was developed by the Californian company Grail. The pilot project includes 165,000 patients (largely between 50 to 79) and will start in 2021. Results should be ready by 2023, with the hope that 1 million people will be tested by 2025
Roughly 1,000 British people are diagnosed with cancer daily, and of those tested, an estimated 500 are in either stage 1 or 2. Medical professionals hope that the test will increase the number to roughly 750 before the end of the 2020s. Early detection improves the likelihood that treatment will be successful. By detecting ¾ of cancer patients in the first two stages, it is hoped that deaths related to cancer will be reduced to about 1/5 of the current number of deaths. The UK is an ideal place for the test because the UK has a lower cancer survival rate than most of Europe.
Some criticize the move of the UK National Health Service conducting the test because the current data on the success rate of blood tests in detecting cancer is relatively weak. Critics feel that more clinical trials should be conducted before the effort is made by a government agency to conduct a trial run. Those in favor of the use of a larger agency point to the lower clinical sizes and potential to detect cancer since it is a detection test. By using a much larger sample size, they will get a more accurate idea of whether or not the tests are reliable. Currently, the evidence suggests that the test is not very effective during stage 1 cancer because the cancer is still isolated to the initial organ, so it will not likely have much presence in the blood.
For more details, check out UK to Pilot Blood Test That May Detect 50 Types of Cancer.