The PSA test is a blood test that can detect the early signs of an enlarged prostate. It is the most common initial test for men who are worried about prostate cancer.
The test, which can be done at a GP surgery, measures the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.
PSA is a protein made only by the prostate gland. Some of it will leak into your blood, and the amount depends on your age and the health of your prostate.
A raised PSA level in your blood may be a sign of prostate cancer. However, other conditions, such as an enlarged prostate, prostatitis, or a urinary infection, can also cause a raised PSA level. There are well-known issues with the accuracy of the PSA test and potential harmful consequences, which is why there is currently no national screening program for prostate cancer in the UK.
Instead, all men over the age of 50 can access quality information about the PSA test and discuss the option of having a free test with their GP as part of a scheme called the prostate cancer risk management program (PCRMP).
Under PCRMP, your GP will be expected to discuss with you the benefits, limitations, and risks of the PSA test to help you decide whether or not to have it.
If your blood test comes back with a positive result this result will have been seen by your consulting physician who will explain fully to you the next steps.
Doctors will use the results of your prostate examination, biopsy and scans to identify the “stage” of your prostate cancer (how far the cancer has spread). The stage of the cancer will determine which types of treatments will be necessary.
A widely used method of staging is a number staging system. The stages are:
If prostate cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the chances of survival are generally good. About 90% of men diagnosed at stages 1 or 2 will live at least five more years and 65-90% will live for at least 10 more years.
If you are diagnosed with stage 3 prostate cancer, you have a 70-80% of chance of living for at least five more years.
However, if you are diagnosed when your prostate cancer has reached stage 4, there is only a 30% chance you will live for at least five more years.
The blood samples are sent to a certified Chronix Biomedical laboratory in Germany where each sample is whole genome sequenced, we are looking in particular for fragments of mutated DNA that are ejected into the blood plasma, these mutations if seen in large numbers are a fingerprint for cancer.
Test results will be ready within 7 – 10 days from the date we take your blood, and will sent directly to your Doctor.
The Chronix Biomedical Breast Cancer Second Opinion ™ test, is as an additional blood test, following either an indeterminate mammogram or biopsy or prior to biopsy to help your Doctor determine if in fact a biopsy is even needed. It is also a valuable diagnostic aid following breast surgery to assist your Doctor in determining if there is any residual disease.
HOW COMMON IS BREAST CANCER?
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer.
About one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. There’s a good chance of recovery if it’s detected in its early stages.
For this reason, it’s vital that women check their breasts regularly for any changes and always get any changes examined by their GP.
Breast Cancer Statistics 2013 Cancer Research UK
Cases – 53,696, Deaths – 11,433, Survival – 78%, Prevention – 27%
In rare cases, men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. Read about breast cancer in men.
As the causes of breast cancer aren’t fully understood, at the moment it’s not possible to know if it can be prevented.
If you’re at increased risk of developing the condition, some treatments are available to reduce the risk.
Studies have looked at the link between breast cancer and diet. Although there are no definite conclusions, there are benefits for women who:
It’s been suggested that regular exercise can reduce your risk of breast cancer by as much as a third. Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can also improve the outlook for people affected by breast cancer. If you’ve been through the menopause, it’s particularly important that you’re not overweight or obese. This is because being overweight or obese causes more oestrogen to be produced, which can increase the risk of breast cancer.
The Chronix blood test consist of our drawing 20ml of blood into two tubes so is minimally invasive and carries no more risk than any other blood sample taken from the veins.
It is your choice whether or not you have breast screening. There are many different reasons why women decide whether or not to have screening. To help you decide, we’ve included information on the possible benefits and risks.
Screening saves lives from breast cancer Lives are saved because cancers are diagnosed and treated earlier than they would have been without screening.
Screening finds breast cancers that would never have caused a woman harm
Some women will be diagnosed and treated for breast cancer that would never otherwise have been found and would not have become life-threatening. This is the main risk of screening.
Doctors cannot always tell whether a breast cancer that is diagnosed will go on to be life-threatening or not, so they offer treatment to all women with breast cancer. This means that some women will be offered treatment that they do not need.
Benefits and risks of screening NHS Choices further information on Breast Screening
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that being breast aware means:
Detecting breast cancer early can mean that treatment is more effective.
Knowing what your breasts normally feel like will help you to be aware of any abnormal changes.
However, not all changes are a sign of breast cancer. Some women have cysts or thickening of the breast tissue, which is normal.
The Breast Cancer Care checklist
According to Cancer Research UK, 9 out of 10 breast lumps are not cancer.
Be aware of the following changes in your breasts that could signal breast cancer:
All our tests have the same pricing structure, the first test is £2,000 and any subsequent tests are £1,500. If you have a diagnosis of cancer and are wanting either a CNI Second Opinion™ or CNI Monitor the cost of these tests may be reimbursable on a case by case basis by your medical insurer. Please ask one of our medical team how to proceed with reimbursement applications via your Doctor.
Chronix Biomedical has now made available a laboratory developed test for monitoring treatment response during the course of therapy. Through the simple process of drawing blood, we can now offer a test that can, with a high degree of accuracy, detect macromolecular mutations of DNA fragments in blood plasma, which can predict whether a patient is responding to therapy.
The Chronix Biomedical CNI Monitor blood test is a vast improvement over the current methods of determining whether a patient is responding to therapy or not. The essential difference is that now for the first time, due to Next Generation Genomic Sequencing we can detect cancer mutations of DNA in blood plasma. Advantages of this new technology, also referred to as Liquid Biopsy, is that we can now look at the entirety of the body relating to cancer. Current scanning and tissue biopsy can only look at a specific part of the body.
With Chronix Biomedical’s blood test we can now usefully monitor patients by looking at changes in a patient’s Copy Number Imbalance (CNI) score. Blinded studies have shown that when the CNI score does not significantly change over serial sampling, the patient is not responding to therapy. Studies to date have looked at patients with 11 different cancers undergoing radiotherapy, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
It has recently been found that mutated DNA fragments from cancer cells find their way into the bloodstream. They can be detected by next generation sequencing–the technique that has successfully mapped the whole human genome. Prostate cancer mutations tend to produce “hot spots” (gains and losses) in the mutated DNA fragments that are in the blood.
The reasons are currently under investigation. Nonetheless, DNA from the cancer cells is detectable in your bloodstream. The Chronix CNI Second Opinion™ prostate cancer evaluation searches for these sequences and identifies them. This test will supplement the information you have about test results from PSA tests or imaging enabling you to make a decision based on all the evidence to proceed to a tissue biopsy or test again at a later date.
Chronix Biomedical has now made available a laboratory developed test for the detection of risk factors highly associated with Breast cancer. Through the simple process of drawing blood, we can now offer a test than can with a high degree of accuracy, detect macromolecular mutations of DNA fragments in blood plasma, which are closely associated with Breast cancer.
The Chronix Biomedical CNI Second Opinion™ Breast Cancer Evaluation blood test was designed to be a supplemental test for men with elevated PSA.
It has recently been found that mutated DNA fragments from cancer cells find their way into the bloodstream. They can be detected by next generation sequencing–the technique that has successfully mapped the whole human genome. Breast cancer mutations tend to produce “hot spots” (gains and losses) in the mutated DNA fragments that are in the blood.
The reasons are currently under investigation. Nonetheless, DNA from the cancer cells is detectable in your bloodstream. The Chronix Second Opinion™ Breast cancer evaluation searches for these sequences and identifies them.
This test will supplement the information you have about test results from other diagnostics such as mammography or biopsy enabling you and your Doctor to make a decision based on all the evidence.
Q&A Sources courtesy of: NHS Choices, NICE, Public Health England, Cancer Research UK