‘Holy grail’ blood test to detect 10 types of cancer years before symptoms begin

A blood test to detect 10 types of cancer long before they show up in other ways is set to save thousands of lives.

The breakthrough, hailed as the “holy grail” of cancer research, opens the door to universal screening.

The check can pick up lung, head and neck, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, colorectal, ovarian, pancreatic, liver, oesophageal and breast cancers.

In tests it achieved up to 90% accuracy by picking up fragments of DNA released into the blood by fast-growing cancer cells.

In some cases it could detect a cancer years before any symptoms show.

The simple check could be in use within a few years, but may cost hospitals up to £1,000 a time.

The breakthrough is set to be unveiled at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Prof Nicholas Turner, of London’s Institute of Cancer Research, said: “Many cancers are picked up too late. It’s exciting.”

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