Breast Cancer By Blood Test? The Non-Invasive Method Being Studied Right Now, and How You Can Help

By Christina Lorey

October 17, 2022

For women who suspect they have breast cancer, the only way to know for sure is through an invasive, surgical biopsy. But that could soon become a thing of the past. 

New research, underway right now in Wisconsin, is finding ways to turn that diagnostic surgery into a simple blood test.

What It Is
There are molecules in the body called microRNA. They create cells from our DNA and control how much or how little certain genes are expressed. When someone has cancer, it means their microRNA were damaged and unable to keep those genes from becoming cancerous. That shows up on a blood test.

TL;DR: MicroRNA accurately tell us who has cancer and who doesn’t 95% of the time.

What This Could Mean
Not only would a breast cancer blood test lower the cost of diagnosis and save patients from needing surgery just to confirm they have cancer, it would likely increase survival rates. 

Doctors in Marshfield found blood tests can detect cancerous cells as much as a year before patients show symptoms.

These same methods are starting to be used to detect other types of cancer, too.

How You Can Help
The Marshfield Clinic Research Institute is currently looking for women who have been recently diagnosed with breast or any other type of cancer to participate in a clinical trial. Click here for more information.

Madison’s UW Health, Wisconsin’s #1 ranked hospital, is also recruiting both men and women for a range of ongoing clinical trials. Click here to learn about the opportunities currently available.

October breast cancer awareness month poster background concept design with pink bow ribbon vector illustration graphic template


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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