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Cancer breath test coming soon: Your halitosis may actually be cancer tumor offgassing

Monday, May 02, 2011 by: David Hutto
Tags: cancer, breath test, health news

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(NaturalNews) It is important to diagnose cancer as early as possible. Some kinds of cancer, however, are especially hard to spot, including cancer of the head and neck. This is why a study published in the Journal of Cancer Research seems to hold good news for cancer diagnosis. The study showed that a device called Nano Artificial Nose (or shortened to Na-Nose) is able to detect metabolic byproducts in the breath of patients with head and neck cancer. In other words, Na-Nose can "smell" the head and neck cancer.

The study, at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, involved 82 volunteers (22 with various head-and-neck cancers, 24 with lung cancer, and 36 healthy and cancer free). Professor Hossam Haick said of the study, "There's an urgent need to develop new ways to detect head and neck cancer because diagnosis of the disease is complicated, requiring specialist examinations.

"We've shown that a simple 'breath test' can spot the patterns of molecules which are found in head and neck patients in a small, early study. We now need to test these results in larger studies to find if this could lead to a potential screening method for the disease."

Once a cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it becomes far more difficult to treat. The important implication of this study is the possibility of detecting these hard-to-diagnose cancers at an earlier stage, leading to quicker treatment. Earlier diagnosis can give patients more control over how to approach their treatment, with a possibility of implementing alternative treatments.

Among the alternative adjuncts recommended by the Mayo Clinic are massage, meditation, acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofeedback, tai chi, and yoga. Some patients also wish to treat their cancer with alternatives to harsh chemotherapy toxins or radiation. Early diagnosis with Na-Nose can improve patients chances of treating the cancer while it is still at an early stage.

The promising technology of Na-Nose is based on its ability to detect different chemical compounds in the breath. The device is so sensitive that it can tell the difference between people with and without cancer, as well as detecting which patients have head or neck cancer as distinguished from lung cancer.

The Journal of Cancer Research, which published the study, is owned by Cancer Research UK. The head of cancer information, Dr Lesley Walker, said: "It's important to be clear that this is a small study, at a very early stage, so many more years of research with patients will be needed to see if a breath test could be used in the clinic."

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