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Simple breath tests could detect lung cancer

(NaturalNews) A recent study has found that a basic breath test could help indicate if a person has developed early-stage lung cancer.

Persons whose CT scans showed suspicious lung lesions had their exhaled breaths tested by the study team. Specifically, levels of four substances which were associated with cancer, called "carbonyls", were tested for using a device which was developed at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

"Although the data are preliminary, we found that patients with an elevation of three or four cancer-specific carbonyl compounds was predictive of lung cancer in 95 percent of patients with a pulmonary nodule or mass. Conversely, the absence of elevated VOC levels was predictive of a benign mass in 80 percent of patients," said Michael Bousamra, MD, author of the study from the University of Louisville.

What was more, the researchers also discovered that after cancerous lung tumors were surgically removed, the elevated levels of carbonyls actually returned to normal.

Dr Bousamra also suggested that among patients with suspicious lung lesions, exhaled breath tests could help zoom in on those to be referred for immediate surgery, as supposed to subjecting them to invasive biopsy procedures. This new method offered benefits such as "the simplicity of sample collection and ease for the patient."

Previous research

Such research findings are not totally new. In 2013, researchers at Cleveland Clinic also found that exhaled breath could help reveal the presence of lung cancer. The study team had looked at 237 persons who either had biopsy-confirmed lung cancer, were at-risk of the disease, or had benign lung growths, and exposed their breaths to a chemical sensor called a colorimetric sensor array. The array changed colors based on exposure to certain chemicals, and a certain color pattern would show up if the chemicals in the breath contained lung cancer markers.

"We believe that cancer cells release a unique chemical signature related to the tumor-growing process," said Peter J Mazzone, MD, one of the researchers.

Back in 2011, it was also reported that Tecnalia was contributing to the development of biosensors which could detect compounds in exhaled breath which were indicative of lung cancer.

With lung cancer being one of the most aggressive killers today, and other diagnosis methods presently used having their fair share of dangers and inconveniences, any new, non-invasive, inexpensive and accurate way to detect the disease would represent a significant breakthrough.

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