Breath Tests To Detect Colon Cancer ?

(Photo Credit: Cosmosmagazine)
(Photo Credit: Cosmosmagazine)

Health-wise, the medical professionals recommend those who are 50 and above to undergo colonoscopy (the endoscopic   examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus to determine if intestinal tissues are healthy or not) once every 10 years and a fecal blood test at least once a year.

Such tests or screenings could help prevent colorectal cancers from developing when precancerous polyps are detected and removed or treated immediately.

While the death rate for colorectal cancer has considerably dropped for more than two decades, it has remained to be one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths for both men and women.

Why so despite the much improved screening methods?  Why is colon cancer still the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths? 

I decided to ask around.

Sadly, not everyone who’s 40-50 up is willing to undergo the whole screening process; not everyone is up-to-date on their testing for colorectal cancer.  Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of having a long tube passed through their anus; as simple as that.  Only when they are already at a” critical state of internal affairs” would they agree to undergo colonoscopy; which is often too late.

A Breathe of Fresh News

But hey…..researchers  say they’ve created a breath test that works in detecting colon cancer?   A breath test similar to the tool  used to determine when a driver has had too much to drink?  Wow!  I myself won’t have second thoughts anymore over colorectal screening if that breath test tool materializes for public use!  (No more yucky tube insertion; well, that would be the day.)

A pulmonologist said the breath functions in the body in much the same way that the exhaust system functions in a car, and what comes out gives a sense of how things are working inside.  More over, a person’s breath contains various chemical compounds, and it has long been recognized that certain physical conditions can affect how the breath smells.

In a new study conducted by researchers, they were able to identify patients with colorectal cancer with an accuracy of over 75% by analyzing samples of their breath.  However, it would take a few more years of testing before it could be approved for general use.

The researchers  have completed a small clinical trial on a breath test which screens for colorectal cancer using volatile organic compounds, and the results of such a study were published  in the British Journal of Surgery..

The health professionals believe that patients would be more than willing to take a screening breath test instead of the dreaded colonoscopy,  because it would be a very convenient, quick, less expensive and non-invasive test!

Actually, similar endeavors are under way to come up with breathalyzer-like devices to detect other cancers  – in the lungs, breast and prostate.  Continuous research and trials are ongoing to further increase the chances for early cancer detection and best treatment possible.

So….breathe tests that  are convenient, quick, less expensive and non-invasive ?  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.  ^__^

PS.  You may want to check this out, too.   Is there a need to undergo colonoscopy/ colon screening tests?

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Breath test could detect colorectal cancer