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Mayo Clinic working to expand cancer-detecting test

by: Danielle Avitable, Action News Jax Updated:

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A test is working to detect the early stages of cancer in patients.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic are looking to expand that test to include all types of cancers.

"I think that would be groundbreaking, it would be an amazing tool," Duval County resident Matthew Meunier said.

It’s a test that is helping doctors detect even the earliest stages of cancer.


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"If you can detect small amount of abnormal DNA in tissue, in fluid or eventually in blood, it makes it a much simpler process to screen patient," Dr. Michele Lewis with Mayo Clinic said.

So far, Lewis said the test, called methylated DNA, works to detect two forms of cancer: colon and pancreatic.

"The possibilities are amazing if they can already detect two, it probably opens the door for more," Meunier said.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester are now using this approach in their study to look at tiny fragments of DNA that are abnormal in the blood to detect early stages of all types of cancer.

"Anytime that we can intervene before it gets to a very aggressive stage, it is going to mean so much in the care of a patient," Lewis said.


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Lewis said the goal is to have a blood test offered during routine exams.

"The hope would be that even patients who are seen for a routine physical once a year with no symptoms or no family history, we can help them," Lewis said.

Some people Action News Jax spoke to are worried this would be costly.

"If it doesn't cost any more money, health care is already up there, I’m all for it," Duval County resident, Lueanne Mosley said.

Lewis said she is hoping it will be cost effective and it should be available in five to 10 years.