ROCHESTER, Minn. - Imagine, one simple test that could tell you if you have any type of cancer.
That would be a pretty incredible breakthrough, and Mayo Clinic researchers are hoping they are the ones to make it happen.
“I don’t say I’m in remission," said survivor Hans Johnson. "I say I have a new mission. And it’s to help other cancer patients and caregivers, however I can."
It can be the biggest fight of your life, battling cancer -- and Hans Johnson, a stage four pancreatic cancer survivor, did it.
His outcome is great, and he hopes a new project at the Mayo Clinic will have that effect on others.
“We know that all cancers, if detected early, can be cured," said Dr. David Ahlquist with the Mayo Clinic.
Ahlquist said they are studying a new approach that could potentially detect all cancers early.
It’s called the “pan cancer test." The technology they use in this test would be similar to the technology they use in liquid biopsies.
“Take a blood test and measure tumor-related markers and in our case we’re looking at DNA changes that are specifically acquired by tumors and using new analytical techniques now we can measure very, very tiny amounts of those markers in blood to detect even the earliest stages of cancer,” said Ahlquist.
He says the goal is to have this test offered during routine exams or physicals.
Johnson says that’s something he hopes will be a reality soon.
“The more weapons we have to fight cancer, the more we are going to continue to beat cancer,” he said.
The Mayo Clinic researchers say there's a lot of work to be done, but the test could be available in the next five to 10 years.