Why a new breath test could change the way lung cancer is treated

A simple breath test could help doctors find lung cancer in the early stages.

A new device developed at the University of Louisville measures breath levels of four substances, called carbonyls. Researchers found 95% of patients with high levels of at least three carbonyls were diagnosed with lung cancer.

But, even among those whose carbonyl levels were normal, 80% had some growth, but non-cancerous.

Experts say this is exciting to think that a simple breath test could someday, quickly identify patients with a growth in the lung, and especially those who may need immediate surgery when the breath test indicates it looks suspicious.

This study was led by researchers at the University of Louisville, and presented at the society of thoracic surgeons' annual meeting.

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