As technology advances, so do the tools used by doctors. Cancer remains one of the most devastating diseases on Earth, and there still isn’t a cure for it. However, it is possible to detect cancer early on using a blood test. However, in the future, things could become a lot simpler.
Using a breathalyser
Scientists are trying to discover whether it is possible to detect cancer by using breath tests. Exhaled breath contains volatile organic compounds. However, when someone suffers from cancer, the amounts and/or the patterns of the VOCs are different, and this could be used to detect the disease.
“There is increasing potential for breath-based tests to aid diagnosis, sitting alongside blood and urine tests in an effort to help doctors detect and treat disease,” Owlstone CEO Billy Boyle said in the press release. “The concept of providing a whole-body snapshot in a completely non-invasive way is very powerful and could reduce harm by sparing patients from more invasive tests that they don’t need.”
This test comes with various advantages. First of all, it takes around 10 minutes, compared to blood tests which are a lot longer. More than that, it doesn’t cause any pain at all and it is a non-invasive procedure. This could convince more people to get tested and it will be easier to test small children for example. The scientific community has been working for quite some time in order to come up with new tools:
“We urgently need to develop new tools, like this breath test, which could help to detect and diagnose cancer earlier, giving patients the best chance of surviving their disease,” said Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, lead investigator of the clinical trial at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre.