Medical Breakthroughs - New Machine Sniffs Out Lung Cancer - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/4/05

Medical Breakthroughs - New Machine Sniffs Out Lung Cancer

It seems as though lung cancer took the life of news anchor Peter Jennings quickly. Studies show only 42 percent of lung cancer patients survive one year after the diagnosis. The problem is the disease is hard to find early because there are no warning signs, but this machine may change that. It's a machine that actually "sniffs out" lung cancer.

"Individuals with bone cancer would have abnormal blood. Individuals with bladder cancer or kidney cancer would have abnormal urine, so we think individuals with lung cancer also have abnormal breath," says Tarek Mekhail M.D. at the Cleveland Clinic.

The patient breathes into the mouthpiece for about 12 minutes, and this electronic nose detects chemical changes in the breath that signal cancer. Studies so far show the nose is about 75 percent successful at finding lung cancer. Researchers are trying to improve the accuracy before making it available, but they are hopeful that the breath test will be used someday for routine screening.

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