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Cancer blood test
Mar 2, 2001

Hi Dr. Dezube, I'm a 28 year old HIV+ male on my first combination therapy (Videx, Zerit and Ziagen). My health is "excellent", viral load is undetectable, however my CD4 counts are not exactly glamorous as they are in the range of 220-290 (set point of 130). I guess such CD4 counts indicate a certain cancer risk (?), so I was pleased to read an article about the DR-70 cancer blood test (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_1009000/1009307.stm) which could "reveal the early signs of dozens of cancers before symptoms start to show, potentially increasing the likelihood of a cure". I'm not the passive type who likes to sit back and wait to get sick - I prefer to make a more progressive "high tech" approach to things, and I therefore thought about flying to Canada to do the test, as it's not available in Denmark where I live. Would you recommend such test - and could the virus or the drugs "mess up" the test results? Thanks in advance! Peter.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Dear Peter, I would NOT recommend having this test performed at this time. It is much too premature. The scientific literature and newspapers are filled with "promising" tests that predict cancer. Very few of these turn out to work. I would give this test a few years to mature to see if there is any validity to it. In the mean time, the American Cancer Society (and I'm sure there's a Danish equivalent) offers valuable suggestions on how to prevent cancer and how to detect it early. On a more personal note, I have a fair number of patients in my practice who fly from place to place, looking for a better test, a better drug, or whatever. I am not convinced that they have done themselves a service. Hope this helps. BD.


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