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Light therapy for acne; Blood test for colorectal cancer; GP risk tool for breast cancer

By Yvette Martyn

Our weekly round-up of the latest research from recent medical conferences.

Blood tests could detect colorectal cancer early

Two new blood tests could allow for the early detection of colorectal and pancreatic cancers according to research presented at the US 2010 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

A team from Israel reported that a simple test for blood levels of the CD24 protein is more than 90% sensitive and specific for detecting colorectal cancer, and more than 80% accurate at identifying adenomas.

Another blood protein PAM4 was shown to be present in nearly 90% of pancreatic cancers

2010 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium: Abstracts OP162 and 135

Program will calculate breast cancer risk

A primary care screening tool can be used to calculate a woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, says a US breast cancer surgeon.

The free online GAIL program was quick for primary care physicians to use and increased referrals for genetic counselling, mammography and MRI scans, Dr Collette Salm-Schmid told delegates at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Details of the program are available from and searching for Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool

32nd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), poster 4010

Light therapy has clear benefits in acne

Light therapy given with a light-sensitive topical cream known as photodynamic therapy (PDT) is of clear benefit to patients with acne according to a systematic review.

The review was presented at the Dermatology 2010: Psoriasis, Acne and Dermatitis conference in London. The researchers said that the benefits of PDT may be worth the initial discomfort and that the treatment may be more economical than conventional acne treatments.

Dermatology 2010: Psoriasis, Acne and Dermatitis