A simple blood test can check for more than 50 types of cancer, often before any signs or symptoms, scientists say.

It could help diagnose tumours sooner, when they are easier to treat and, ideally, cure, experts hope.

More than 99% of positive results are accurate, the team says, but it will be crucial to check it does not miss cases and provide false assurance.

Doctors are using it in trials with patients but more studies are needed, they say in Annals of Oncology.

Trial data suggests it is better at detecting more advanced disease rather than the beginnings of cancer, which may limit how useful it becomes.

How does it work?

The test looks for telltale chemical changes to bits of genetic code – cell-free DNA –

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