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Can breath detect lung cancer?

8th September 2014 Researchers believe the temperature of exhaled breath could indicate lung cancer...

Doctors believe they may be able to diagnose lung cancer by gauging the temperature of exhaled breath.

The new study presented to the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress analysed the breath temperature of 82 people who had been referred to a full diagnostic test after an X-ray suggested the presence of lung cancer.

Using a breath thermometer device known as an X-Halo, researchers found that the 42 patients found to have lung cancer recorded a higher breath temperature than those without cancer. The study also found temperature increased with the number of years a person smoked, and the stage at which their lung cancer developed.

Giovanna Elisiana Carpagnano, lead author of the study and a professor at the University of Foggia, Italy, said "Our results suggest that lung cancer causes an increase in the exhumed temperature. If we are able to refine a test to diagnose lung cancer by measure of breath temperature, we will improve the diagnostic process by providing patients with a stress-free and simple test that is also cheaper and less intensive for clinicians".

The researchers also believed they were able to identify a cut-off value in the measurement of temperature to improve accuracy.

Troels Jordansen of LungHealth UK commented on the news "Any potential development in the detection of cancer is good news, but we must always treat such developments with caution. There is certainly room for further research here and the very early indications are exciting, but the study only analysed 82 people, so a wider sample population would have to be tested for the results to have true credibility. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and not smoking should be key priorities in preventing lung cancer".

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