Hair Test for Breast Cancer (March 1999)
Australian scientists are said to have developed a radical new technique for detecting the breast cancer by using a few strands of hair.
In a study reported in the scientific journal Nature, Professor Veronica James of the University of New South Wales says, "we have developed a test that is so reliable and cheap that we could do 1,000 or 2,000 a day." What she and her colleagues discovered was that hair from breast cancer victims had a different molecular structure from that of healthy women.
If the technique is supported by more trials, James says, the hair test could have "revolutionary implications" for detecting breast cancer. This "would replace mammography, which is so painful for many women that they would do anything to avoid it."
The professor says the hair method could be the basis for mass screenings that, in many cases, "could catch the disease before you show any clinical signs of cancer." It also could mean that women would not even have to go to a doctor or a clinic, but could instead send in a sample of hair for testing.
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