Sniffing out stomach cancer using a breath tester

Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

Scientists have developed a technology to sense small chemical changes in exhaled breath to accurately identify the development of stomach cancer.

People with and without cancer have distinctive breath prints which Latvian and Israeli scientists have now been able to identify.

The new test is also able to accurately tell between the different pre-cancerous stages, marking out those patients at low and high risk of developing gastric cancer.

Gastric cancer develops in a series of well-defined steps but there’s currently no reliable and non-invasive screening test for picking up these changes early on.

Most people are diagnosed when it’s too late to save their lives.

A large trial involving thousands of patients, including those with stomach cancer or pre-cancerous changes, is currently under way in Europe to test the technology’s suitability as a screening method.

The results of the study, which involved 968 breath samples were collected from 484 patients, are published in the medical journal BMJ.

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