The British Journal of Cancer published research conducted by Israeli and Chinese students that found a bad breath detector has a 90 percent accuracy rate in distinguishing stomach cancer with other common stomach issues in 130 patients. This new breath test is very promising because stomach cancer is difficult to detect, and oftentimes it is too late to control the cancer when doctors determine that a patient is suffering from it. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate of stomach cancer is only about 38 percent because of this.
This detector tests bad breath caused by cancerous growths that release volatile organic compounds. It uses a nanomaterial sensor that analyzes the chemicals that are released through the mouth to determine if the bad breath is a sign of the development of stomach cancer. This new method would be much less invasive and simpler than an endoscopy, which is the current and most common method to detect stomach cancer. An endoscopy requires a long, flexible tube with a small camera to be extended down the throat and into the digestive system. But the new detector could be used during a routine checkup by any general practitioner.
“The promising findings from this early study suggest that using a breath test to diagnose stomach cancers, as well as more benign complaints, could be a future alternative to endoscopies – which can be costly and time-consuming, as well as unpleasant to the patient,” Dr. Hossam Haick of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and the leader of the team that developed the bad breath detector said.