The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London announced that they have developed a saliva test that can detect the risk of prostate cancer in men earlier.

"According to the study report, the saliva test, which can be sampled at home, is more accurate than the current standard blood test in determining the future risk of prostate cancer for a group of men. The saliva test detected prostate cancer patients with fewer errors than the PSA (blood test) test. The test also accurately identified men with prostate cancer who were missed by MRI scans."

Calling the first trial 'Barcode 1', the team analyzed saliva tests from more than 6,000 men aged 55 to 69. Dheeresh Turnbull, 71, who participated in the Barcode 1 study, was diagnosed with an early prostate thanks to the saliva test.

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"I was completely shocked when I heard the diagnosis, because I had absolutely no symptoms, so I know that if I hadn't taken part in the trial I would never have been diagnosed at this stage. Because the saliva test revealed that my blood was high. My younger brother, who is at genetic risk of developing the disease, was too young to participate directly in the trial and discovered that he too had an aggressive tumor in his prostate. It's incredible to think that two lives have been saved because of this study."


"Cancers detected early are much more likely to be curable, and with prostate cancer cases set to double by 2040, we need to have a program in place to detect the disease early," said Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive Officer of the ICR. We know that the current PSA test can lead to men being subjected to unnecessary treatments and, more worryingly, men with cancer being missed. We urgently need an improved test to screen for the disease. This research is a promising step towards this goal and highlights the role genetic testing can play in saving lives."

Editor: David Goodman