A simple breath test may save your life someday

Did you know… a breath test similar to the one used to determine when a driver has had too much to drink shows promise as a screening tool for cancer?!

Recently scientists have successfully trialed a simple breath test to detect stomach cancer, using a new type of sensor made of nanomaterials.

The first trial of the device was small, involving 130 patients with a range of different stomach complaints, but it proved to be more than 90% accurate in differentiating between cancer and other diseases. It was also over 90% accurate in detecting which were early-stage cancers and which were advanced.

And a small study from Italy released December 2012, researchers were able to identify patients with colorectal cancer with an accuracy of over 75% by analyzing samples of their breath.

Since the Middle Ages doctors have known that the aroma of breath can help detect what may be wrong with a patient.

For example, there is a sweet smell of acetone in patients with uncontrolled diabetes, the fishy odor to advanced liver disease, as well as a urine-like smell that comes when kidneys are failing.

“The technique of breath sampling is very easy and noninvasive, although the method is still in the early phase of development,” researcher Donato F. Altomare, MD, says in a statement.

Similar research is under way to develop breathalyzer-like devices to detect lung, breast, prostate, and other cancers.

Sources: The Guardian, WebMD and Mail Online

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