Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Cancer

Get Email Updates

Cancer Guide

Maryann Gromisch RN Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

A Breathalyzer Test for Cancer?

By Lynette Summerill HERWriter
 
Rate This
A Breathalyzer Test for Cancer? 3 5 5
Cancer related image
Alena Ozerova/PhotoSpin

Have you ever wondered if cancer has a distinct scent?

It’s apparently an intriguing question — one that’s asked multiple times in forums around the Internet.

The question first piqued the interest of researchers years ago when anecdotal reports arose of dogs sniffing out cancer in their owners long before doctors knew a tumor existed.

Since then, researchers have been trying to definitively answer that question. But to what end?

“The goal, ultimately, is to be able to measure something through a lab test that is produced specifically by a cancer, and that would allow us to become aware a cancer is present before it can be felt by examination, or found by an x-ray or other imaging test. Then, maybe the cancer could be treated before it ever becomes a problem,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the American Cancer Society, who has blogged about the subject.

German researchers made big news in 2011 when they showed dogs, in fact, could be trained to sniff out lung cancer in patients without any symptoms of the disease.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, demonstrated that a dog's keen sense of smell could pinpoint trace amounts of chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by early-stage tumors.

The German study was replicated in 2012 by Austrian researchers.

Last week, Israeli and Chinese researchers announced that they have successfully detected early-stage stomach cancers with a simple breath test.

While theirs is not the first to use smell as a means to detect illness, it does offer a breakthrough for finding stomach cancer when it is most treatable.

The researchers used a sensor made of nanomaterials — a kind of mechanical canine nose — to detect a unique chemical profile in the air patients exhaled when cancer was present.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi! You have a great blog here. I will keep on visiting your site and be updated with our latest post. Have a great day!!

March 12, 2013 - 11:23pm
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1880 Health

Changed

775 Lives

Saved

644 Lives
6 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Have you ever participated in a clinical trial?:
View Results