Detecting and Diagnosing Cancer

Early detection is a proven strategy for saving lives from cancer. The early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances of successful treatment. Far too often, however, cancers are diagnosed at later stages, when curative treatment is no longer possible.

The best scenario would be to have the ability to identify precancerous growths that are destined to become life-threatening cancers, providing the opportunity for early intervention to prevent cancer from developing altogether. Moreover, the ability to accurately identify abnormal growths that will not progress to potentially fatal cancers would spare patients the physical and financial harms of unnecessary treatment and the psychological harms of a cancer diagnosis.

Areas of opportunity include developing new approaches, including liquid biopsies and other less-invasive methods, for the early detection of precancers and early cancers. These approaches have the potential to increase the number of cancers for which we have clinically effective screening programs as well as improve the technologies currently used to screen for cancer.