High Hopes for Cancer Breathalyzer
Microchip technology can detect very low quantities of lung cancer biomarkers in breath – and may offer a new noninvasive screening option
Michael Schubert |
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide (1) – but a large part of the reason might be because so many patients go undiagnosed until they have advanced disease – survival is closely correlated with stage at diagnosis. Patients who present at stage I, for instance, have five-year survival rates of about 35 percent, while those presenting at stage IV rarely survive more than two years (2). It’s clear that early diagnosis is key to improving lung cancer survival rates, but that’s easier said than done. Unlike other common cancers, there’s no easy screening tool for early-stage lung cancer. The best current option is low-dose computed tomography for high-risk individuals, but this can lead to overdiagnosis of abnormalities that don’t require further investigation and also exposes patients to radiation.
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