Detect cancer with a breath sample?
Researchers have now made significant progress in developing a respiratory test to detect cancer. The new method has made it possible to effectively identify head and neck cancer.
Can human breath indicate an existing cancerous disease? (Image: Pixel-Shot / Stock.Adobe.com)
By analyzing a breath sample, it seems to be possible to successfully identify different types of cancer, according to the results of the new study with the participation of researchers from Flinders University. The study was published in the English journal “British Journal of Cancer”.
Neck and head cancers are common
Head and neck cancer accounts for 6% of all cancers in the world, of which more than 300,000 people die each year. Tobacco, alcohol and poor oral hygiene are known major risk factors for this form of cancer. The increase in head and neck cancer is associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) and also affects younger populations, the research team said.
It is important to recognize cancer early
Current therapies are effective in treating diseases at an early stage, but these diseases are often diagnosed at a late stage and are then often associated with a poorer prognosis and high morbidity. It is therefore important to identify dangerous diseases like cancer of the head and neck as quickly as possible.
Recognize cancer on the breath?
The global drive to use a person’s respiratory analysis for rapid, inexpensive, and accurate testing for cancer and other early-stage diseases could be a big step forward with the new method.
Respiratory samples from 181 people were examined
Breath samples were taken from 181 people suspected of having early squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. By examining expiration patterns, the newly developed method was able to precisely distinguish people with head and neck cancer from non-cancer patients, the researchers report.
Objectives of the research group
“We tried to determine the diagnostic accuracy of the respiratory scan as a non-invasive test to detect head and neck cancer, which over time may lead to a simple way to improve results. and patient morbidity “, explain the experts. in a press release from Flinders University.
How reliable was the test?
The new breath test has an average sensitivity and specificity of 85% when it comes to distinguishing between people with cancer and people in the control group with mild disease. The diagnosis made was then verified by analyzing tissue biopsies, the team explains.
In the future, the researchers hope to be able to test the new method in primary care settings such as general practitioners’ offices in order to develop the early detection test more effectively. (as)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Thomas Goddard, Charmaine Woods, David I. Watson, Eng H. Ooi, Roger Yazbeck et al .: Development of a non-invasive exhaled breath test for the diagnosis of head and neck cancer, in British Journal of Cancer (published on 09.09.2020), British Journal of CancerFlinders University: Promising Breath Test for Cancer (published October 6, 2020), Flinders University
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.