LONDON, May 24 — A new UK study has revealed the first new strong indicator of cancer in 30 years, finding that having a high blood platelet count can predict who will go on to be diagnosed with cancer, and the researchers urge that it should be used by doctors in order to try to catch the disease early.
Known as thrombocytosis, up to half a million people (two per cent) of those over the age of 40 in the UK have a raised blood platelet count, with around 1 per cent of the general population developing cancer each year.
Led by the University of Exeter Medical School, the large-scale study is the first to thoroughly investigate the association between thrombocytosis and cancer, looking at 40,000 patient records in the UK.
The team found that 11per cent of men and 6per cent of women over the age of 40 with thrombocytosis went on to be diagnosed with cancer within a year.
This number rose to 18per cent of men and 10per cent of women being diagnosed with cancer if a second raised platelet count was found within six months.
The most commonly diagnosed cancers after a thrombocytosis diagnosis were lung and colourectal cancer, and one third of these patients had no other symptoms that would indicate to their GP that they had cancer — except for thrombocytosis.
The team are now urging GPs to consider that those with unexpected thrombocytosis may go on to also be diagnosed with cancer, in order to try to catch the disease early on.
“We know that early diagnosis is absolutely key in whether people survive cancer. Our research suggests that substantial numbers of people could have their cancer diagnosed up to three months earlier if thrombocytosis prompted investigation for cancer.
This time could make a vital difference in achieving earlier diagnosis,” commented lead author Dr Sarah Bailey, of the University of Exeter Medical School.
Professor Willie Hamilton, of the University of Exeter Medical School, also added that, “The UK lags well behind other developed countries on early cancer diagnosis. In 2014, 163,000 people died of cancer in this country.
“Our findings on thrombocytosis show a strong association with cancer, particularly in men — far stronger than that of a breast lump for breast cancer in women. It is now crucial that we roll out cancer investigation of thrombocytosis. It could save hundreds of lives each year.”
The paper can be found online published in the British Journal of General Practice. — AFP-Relaxnews
Note: At CA Care we have been using your Platelets Count as a monitor for cancer since the past twenty years!