Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide, and the second leading cause of cancer death among women. But the expense and invasiveness of breast cancer screening may be preventing some women from getting tested. That's why one researcher from India is looking at the possibility of a home screening test for breast cancer.
Early detection of cancer is the key to survival. But for some breast cancer victims, by the time a tumor is discovered through self-examination or mammography, the cancer may have already begun to spread.
That's why Sara Sukumar believes one of most promising methods for early detection is the nipple aspiration fluid test (NAFT).
Dr. Sukumar is a cancer researcher and professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland. She states, “The reason I said I like NAFT the best for collection of cells is because maybe a woman can do this at home. And then, maybe she can send the fluid to the laboratory and the laboratory will be able to do it. “
In recent studies, researchers have been able to detect abnormal cells from fluid extracted from breast ducts. Dr. Sukumar believes the fluid test could enhance current mammography testing, and may prove even more effective in screening high risk patients. "And if they are high risk, the breasts are dense and when the breast is dense mammography is not very good for detecting these legions so they definitely need an adjunct like this to be able to supplement mammography for detecting it early."
While the research shows promise, Dr. Sukumar says a home kit for screening breast cancer is still several years away. But for any woman who's had to go through a mammogram, or worse a biopsy, the promise of a less invasive -- less anxiety producing -- breast cancer test is worth the wait.