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A new study has reported that the early stages of one type of cancer can be detected with a simple blood test. Led by researcher Dennis Lo, professor of chemical pathology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the study tested the blood of 20,000 middle-aged Chinese men for nasopharyngeal carcinoma — a cancer of the upper throat commonly found in Asians and Pacific Islanders — and then followed their physical health for three years.

The blood test, also known as a liquid biopsy, looked for small traces of tumor DNA in blood samples drawn from men who were not exhibiting nor experiencing any cancer symptoms. The Hong Kong study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, successfully identified nasopharyngeal carcinoma in 34 men who otherwise were unaware they had cancer.

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