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Colon cancer testing may soon benefit from the results of a recent study, which showed that the vast majority of colon tumors have extremely high levels of a particular bacterium. The researchers think testing for this microbe may function as an early test for the condition.
After examining tissue from a number of colon cancer patients, researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that most had abnormally high levels of Fusobacterium. This microbe is normal in the body, but exceptionally high levels may indicate a potential health problem.
The team said their findings raise the question of whether or not the bacterium are a root cause of the condition. Their findings could not completely answer that question, but the researchers believe the results could have other benefits.
By testing levels of the bacterium in their patients, doctors may be able to gain an early warning of potential growths in the colon. The sooner cancers are treated, the better the prognosis, and this is particularly true of colon cancer.
Still, they said further research would be needed to determine if Fusobacterium causes colon cancer, of if tumors simply provide a hospitable environment.
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