Your Breath Can Reveal ... Stomach Cancer?

Scientists develop new diagnostic test
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2013 10:33 AM CST
Updated Mar 9, 2013 7:00 PM CST

(Newser) – Scientists have developed a test that can detect stomach cancer with 90% accuracy—based on a patient's breath, the BBC reports. This test sounds monumentally less unpleasant than the current method for diagnosing stomach cancer, which involves a probe and a camera being passed through the mouth and down the throat in order to do a stomach biopsy. The quick new test simply looks for certain chemical profiles in exhaled breath.

Stomach cancer gives off a signature smell due to certain organic compounds, and the test can detect them—and even differentiate between early- and late-stage cancer. The development could be a big boon for those with the disease, which is typically diagnosed fairly late; in the UK, only 20% of patients survive for more than five years after diagnosis. Scientists are working on diagnosing other types of cancers, like lung cancer, in the same way (dogs have the jump on them); the stomach cancer test will be further researched in a larger study.

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