A new breath test that can diagnose early stages of cancer can be the solution to late diagnoses.
Scientists have created a breathalyzer that can quickly and accurately diagnose cancer of the throat and stomach, which are often not diagnosed until it’s too late.
During clinical trials, the device was able to accurately recognize oesophagogastric cancers from breath samples 85 percent of the time.
— The Life Pile (@thelifepile) May 10, 2018
Researchers from Imperial College London were testing it on patients coming in for diagnostic endoscopy or surgery.
Today, testing for such cancers includes dropping a tube down a patient’s throat while they are under anaesthetic. Besides being uncomfortable and slow, the tests are also expensive.
What makes it difficult to find cancer of the throat and stomach is that alarming symptoms only start to show in the late stages. Before that, they can be limited to indigestion and acid reflux, which doctor usually mistake for being simply that.
It works by catching chemical markers of the cancer that can found in a person’s airways as they are on their way out.
— The Life Pile (@thelifepile) May 9, 2018
The researchers are currently working on refining the test’s accuracy and ability to discover cancers in other parts of the body, such as the pancreas.
The trials were done on a group of 335 patients at the Royal Marsden and University College London Hospitals, who had been asked not to eat for at least four hours before the tests.
163 of the patients had already been diagnosed with oesophagogastric cancers, while the remaining patients had less harmful stomach issues.
The test proved effective in diagnosing correctly 85 percent of the time.