Toshiba develops way to accurately detect 13 types of cancer from drop of blood


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Amazing. Too late for so many of our loved ones unfortunately but any leap forward is a godsend.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

This is great news. Something like this will go a long way towards saving the lives of so many. Earlier detection and more accurately while also making it affordable is great news.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Sounds positive I'm already making my own battles with it.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Wow, that is good news. Screw the trial, we need this asap. Does this mean no more stomach or colon cameras are needed for health check ups, that would be amazing

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Anyone remember Elizabeth Holmes. Hope this has a better outcome.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Well done Toshiba.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Anyone remember Elizabeth Holmes.

Since that case is current, and has not yet gone to trial, I would think people "remember" it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Wow, that is good news. Screw the trial, we need this asap. 

Of course it needs further testing, regardless of how soon we need it.

If it doesn't actually work, it won't matter how convenient it is.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Anyone remember Elizabeth Holmes?"

Well since you brought it up:

is an American businesswoman who is the founder and former CEO of Theranos, a now-defunct company known for incorrectly claiming to have revolutionized blood testing using surprisingly small volumes of blood, such as from a fingerprick. In 2015, Forbes named Holmes the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America on the basis of a $9 billion valuation of Theranos. By the next year, following revelations of potential fraud.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

It will only be the first step to aid early detection but then the procedures currently in place will still be needed like biopsies, MRI, CT, cameras,

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hang on! As much as it is good news, it is not technology invented by Toshiba Japan. Many countries have been developing this technology with success. Toshiba Japan has taken everybody else's ideas and worked on them. One must also note that, clinical trials are yet to be done and the success of this technology still needs to be proven.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The 99 percent accuracy rate may not be so accurate if you consider false positives and false negative. Still it’s good to know that new methods of cancer detection are being developed here in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If they need a volunteer to scan, I am up for it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Very good news.

But I hope this does lead to anxiety and useless treatments

I have heard we all may have some kind of cancer cells just sleeping, but this will not develop into a cancer. So this could create false positive

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fingers crossed they make progress with this, because early detection is huge for treatment.

If you are interested in the fight against cancer, the Adam Curtis documentary, The Way of All Flesh, is a good watch.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I thought Toshiba company is making general household appliances and some kinda semiconductor chips, and it is amazing that Toshiba can develop such high tech detection instrument that is able to find cancers?

1 ( +1 / -0 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

If research scientists really made it, they would get Nobel Prize someday.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If research scientists really made it, they would get Nobel Prize someday.

Well argued. When proven, these scientists will absolutely be given the Nobel. 100 percent. The huge prize money will be given to Toshiba. But the lives they saved would be priceless.

Thank you scientists, THANK YOU!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I hope this is not Theranos Part 2.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Samit Basu

I hope this is not Theranos Part 2.

What does this have to do with a Theranos? Theranos was a complete scam from the very beginning. Toshiba is an 80 year old company with an established reputation.

Oooh right... it's a Japanese company. I forgot who I was talking to for a second.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Samit Basu


Desperate. Please.

I'm all the more happy for Toshiba! Seeing them back to work and innovating is very heartwarming. Here's hoping, with the fast approaching arrival of the new decade, we'll see a Toshiba as glorious as the one of 15 years ago. Heck, maybe even better!

Although I am a little bitter of them not really laptops, like the crazy ones back in the day. Nonetheless, keep up the good work, Toshiba-chan!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hurry up, because I'm really not happy with the current method of checking for prostate cancer.

3 ( +4 / -1 )


Hurry up, because I'm really not happy with the current method of checking for prostate cancer.

I have prostrate cancer.

For 16 years we lived in Kobe City and every year took the annual free health check but that didn't include a PSA prostrate test. I know I should have got one at least every two years for all guys over 45. I'm nearly 70.

End of last year moved to a new location which in June also provided a free health check but also offered a PSA prostrate test by taking a blood sample.

My prostrate PSA was 50, very high and indicating cancer. Attended a doctor at the local hospital who gave me an echo scan and CT scan, the prostrate is the size of an egg instead of a walnut. He tried drugs to reduce the PSA levels and also to increase my urine passing rates.

One month on but the drugs didn't lower the PSA.

Advised and arrange for me to visit another local specialist hospital for more testing. First the bloods test. Then echo, CT and MRI scans.

In October I had an over night stay for a prostrate biopsy. What revealed cancer in 11 out of 12 places taken or probably 90% of the prostrate.

After that I had full body MRI to see if the cancer had moved to other places. Lucky I was given the all clear on that.

Here there is a robot operation which they call "da Vinci" which need about a week in hospital to remove the prostrate. But that requires another specialist hospital and the nearest for me was back in Kobe City.

Last week I visited the Kobe hospital. The doctor recommended before the operation I take a six month course of hormone therapy to reduce the size of the prostrate and to help stop the cancer from not spreading and maybe even reduce the amount of the cancer. That will need a monthly injections but could have its own side effects too. My own doctor and friend thinks that it the right way to go and knows good results from that. The hormone therapy can happen at the same local hospital where I had the biopsy.

Then in six months have my prostrate removed.

What I can say is I have been to three hospitals and I have been impressed with the care and attention I have received. I have been very impressed with all the high tech like the MRI. The doctors have discussed with me the results and the possible course of action. Even during the biopsy I was awake and there were several doctors discussing with me what they were doing.

All of the costs to date have been low, especially compared to other countries. Because I'm retired the costs are very low and probably the total including the prostrate removal will still be less than ¥150,000.

Even, because of my own doctor friend one of the countries leading medical professors for prostrate cancer phoned me to discuss my position and also recommended the robot op.

This new blood test would make it available at home and more importantly in poor countries which don't always have all of the high tech stuff.

But even if it works, it will be at least another 10 years before it becomes available.

To all guys over 45 year, go and get a PSA test.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Sorry to hear that Zichi. Hope it all goes well.

4 ( +4 / -0 )


I also have to make a special request that the PSA check is added to my annual physical. Obviously, it should be mandatory, since it's a simple thing once your blood has been taken. There have even been times when the staff have warned me that will will cost money, as in an extra 200 yen, as if that is some kind of reason not to have it done.

And it's a lot easier to take than the alternate method.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Yes, thanks. I let the previous healthcare people in Kobe know about my PSA experience. Yes I paid an additional charge. I think it was ¥1,000 for the PSA and also a lower eye test recommended for old people.

The blood sample was tested while I was there and at the end got my sheet of all results. A local healthcare also called at my home to explain what everything meant and it was her who told me to visit the local hospital.

Catching it early means you save yourself all the problems I now have.

The PSA should be mandatory for all males over 45.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

PSA screening is not without significant problems. It's tempting to assume that for cancers, the best approach is to test often, catch it early, and when found, treat it as soon as possible. Cancer is far more complicated than that, not least because the treatment itself tends to be drastic and life-altering. Even a biopsy is not a trivial procedure, for the patient, and that too can be life-altering. Certainly true of a prostate biopsy.

Screening for both breast cancer and prostate cancer has been carefully assessed in recent years, because with large scale programmes finally in place, it has become possible to look back over a few decades' worth of results. To define screening, it is the testing of healthy people for signs of a particular disease. Whether it's actually effective can eventually be judged after some years have passed by assessing factors such as mortality rates across the screened population. That effectiveness can be judged accurately, but only in terms of screened populations, not of individuals. So it should be added that problems with screening programmes such as for prostate and breast cancer don't mean that healthy people considered high-risk (family history, for example) should avoid testing.

What are the problems with PSA?

Among other things, a high rate of false positives, which is undesirable in cancer screening, because at best, it leads to considerable anxiety and stress for the affected patients, at worst to treatments that are unnecessary (including many, many unneeded biopsies - for this reason, advice is often that a patient with high PSA should wait and then re-test). One reason for false positives is that elevated PSA is only a possible sign of cancer, but not a particularly strong indicator; there are other things that can elevate PSA levels.

A second problem is the underwhelming results of PSA screening for cancer. I've added the link below, but in layman's terms, here's what was found, according to one study:

...[F]or every 1,000 men ages 55 to 69 years who are screened every 1 to 4 years for 10 to 15 years:

About 1 death from prostate cancer would be avoided

120 men would have a false-positive test result that leads to a biopsy, and some men who get a biopsy would experience at least moderately bothersome symptoms from the biopsy

100 men would be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Of those, 80 would be treated (either immediately or after a period of active surveillance) with surgery or radiation. At least 60 of these men would have a serious complication from treatment, such as erectile dysfunction and/or urinary incontinence.

The Mayo Clinic page on PSA testing says this:

 Studies have estimated that between 23 and 42 percent of men with prostate cancer detected by PSA tests have tumors that wouldn't result in symptoms during their lifetimes. These symptom-free tumors are considered overdiagnoses — identification of cancer not likely to cause poor health or to present a risk to the man's life.

Cancer Research UK even promotes a handy pictorial version of such findings:

These sources, and there are plenty more like it, are very mainstream. To boil down the issues, it's not clear-cut whether males need frequent prostate screening - exactly how frequently is one question, what age range to test at is another, and whether to use the PSA test to do it is a third. There are no completely obvious answers to any of these, and I would be wary of any physician who makes it sound like there are.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

My own PSA levels were tested about five times over about two months and even with the drugs it did not lower. The doctor did say that the high levels of PSA and also a very enlarged prostrate didn't mean 100% that I had cancer but only a biopsy could really confirm it. The biopsy confirms the present of cancer. The biopsy wasn't painful in itself and my urine was clean of blood. The most uncomfortable part was waiting for about nine hours for the anesthetic in my spine to wear off. Not being able to move my legs.

If I had been tested 10 years ago probably I could have dealt with my current health problem in a different way not requiring surgery. But the robot surgery is a big advancement over open surgery. The recovery quicker.

I think males over 45 years should have a test every 2-3 years. Since discovering my prostrate cancer and speaking with my younger brothers I discovered I was the only one who had not been tested before.

The rates in Japan for prostrate cancer are lower than in western countries but is also increasing.

Present estimates indicate that about one out of 11 American men will develop prostate cancer. 

In Japan, the age adjusted prostate cancer mortality rate is significantly lower (2 per 100,000) than in the U.S. (14 per 100,000). 

You could have prostrate cancer but end up dying from another cause.

I know no one in my own family who has had prostrate cancer.

Since I have discovered my prostrate problem I have spoken with others about it and discovered quite a few have already been there. All the ones with high levels of PSA had cancer. My own level is 50 when the normal would be considered to be 4-5.

It will take another six months before I have my prostrate removed but in the mean my urine passing rate is very high including waking up several times during the night.

It was several PSA tests, echo, CT and MRI scans and then a prostrate biopsy which confirms my condition. Every step of the way, the specialist doctors have discussed the tests and the outcomes and the possible next steps but the final decisions were always my own.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just to emphasize, in case my comment gave the impression that I was referring to specific cases (which was not my intention), or to people who have already been diagnosed, that I was talking about screening in general (of populations, not individuals), and of PSA testing applied, within that context, to look for cancer. There is currently less official support for PSA as the best screening tool, and for screening itself, than there used to be. It's not that screening is being abandoned, but that advice on recommended ages for testing has been modified in light of assessment of the actual effectiveness of screening. The page I linked has some discussion of the risk/benefit tradeoff, I think, and that's always an important consideration in medicine. PSA screening of symptom-free people is no exception, and has to be considered in such terms. The risks - not from the test itself, but from what can happen next if a high reading is returned - are real and not to be overlooked.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A nurse here gave me a rule-of-thumb figure for people and cancer rates. She said that 2 out of 3 people will develop cancer in their life.

Of those two people, one will die from the cancer itself, and the other will die from other causes, still with the cancer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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