Breath test could detect cancer and save lives

A revolutionary cancer breath test has been developed which could significantly cut the death rate by identifying cancerous tumours.

Scientists are in the early stages of developing a simple breath test that could detect cancer, even before the patients suffer any symptoms.

The revolutionary test has been developed to diagnose lung, breast, bowel and prostate cancer – the four most common forms – and could save hundreds of lives through early identification.

Researcher Professor Abraham Kuten said: ‘This study shows that we can distinguish between healthy and malignant breath, and can also differentiate between the breath of patients with different cancer types.’

The test works by using tiny sensors that can pick up chemicals on the breath, which are released from the surface of cancer cells when tumours start to grow.

So far the researchers have tested the new device on 177 individuals who are healthy or have already been diagnosed with tumours.

The findings are published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Dr. Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK said, ‘It is important to say at the outset that this is a small study at a very early stage and much more research is needed to see if breath can be used in the detection of cancer.’

‘Strengthening the methods for early diagnosis of cancer as well as improved treatments will have a significant impact on cutting death rates,’ she added.

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