A Blood Test to Root Out Cancer

Researchers work to fine-tune a test that could better detect lingering disease in cancer patients.


A diagnosis of cancer is scary enough on its own. But cancer cells’ ability to hide out in the body after an initial round of treatment is especially insidious. And it isn’t possible yet to tell which patients still have any residual disease.

Even a few surviving cancer cells can multiply over time, moving out of the original site — the breast or colon, for example — to form a tumor in another part of the body. By the time that new tumor has grown large enough to show up on a CT scan, the cancer is likely incurable.


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