A study published late last week shows that a new blood test allows doctors to diagnose cancer up to 4 years before symptoms appear. 

The groundbreaking research, published here in the journal Nature Communications, could prove to be revolutionary in the way we diagnose and treat cancer. 

“What we showed is up to four years before these people walk into the hospital, there are already signatures in their blood that show they have cancer,” says Kun Zhang, a bioengineer at the University of California, San Diego, and a co-author of the study. 

“That’s never been done before,” he adds.

Zhang and his colleagues focused on developing a test for five of the most common types of cancer: stomach, esophageal, colorectal, lung, and liver.

Many more tests and studies are needed, but this research proves something extremely important: 

While we may still be a ways away from an “all-cancer” blood test, it is not impossible to achieve.