Nature Outlook |

Cancer diagnosis

Despite marked improvements in treatment, cancer is still the cause of roughly 17% of deaths globally. One reason for this is the lack of early diagnosis — cancers caught early are more treatable. But researchers are making impressive progress.

This Nature Outlook is editorially independent, produced with financial support from a third party. About this content.


Detecting tumours earlier and more precisely could lead to more effective treatment.

Outlook | | Nature

Increasingly sensitive tests have raised the risk overdiagnosis. Understanding a person’s chance of disease could reduce the harmful side effects of screening.

Outlook | | Nature

The analysis of tumours using biomarkers in blood is beginning to transform cancer diagnosis, says Catherine Alix-Panabières. The challenge now is to make liquid biopsy a standard clinical tool.

Outlook | | Nature

More from Nature Research

The implementation of screening tests for certain cancers has led to the phenomenon of overdiagnosis, whereby a cancer is diagnosed that would otherwise not go on to cause symptoms or death. This Opinion article discusses the effects of overdiagnosis and emerging strategies to reduce overdiagnosis of indolent cancers through an understanding of tumour biology and the tumour microenvironment.

Perspective | | Nature Reviews Cancer

Interval invasive breast cancers diagnosed after a normal mammogram but before the next screening examination have a different tumour biology from that of screen-detected breast cancers, and thus are not detected on mammography. Understanding the genetics and biology of interval invasive cancers could inform better approaches to detection.

News & Views | | Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology