According to a new study at the University of Louisville, a simple breath test might reveal if a person has early-stage lung cancer.
A panel of researchers used a special device to test the the exhaled breath of people with suspicious lung lesions that were detected on CT scans. The breath was tested for levels of four cancer-specific substances, called carbonyls.
The increased levels of three of the four carbonyls was indicative of lung cancer in 95 percent of patients, while having normal levels of these substances was predictive of a noncancerous growth in 80 percent of patients. The carbonyl levels returned to normal after the patients had surgery to remove the cancer.
According to Dr. Michael Bousamra of the University of Louisville, the technique can help identify which patients may be referred for immediate surgery. The study should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
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