(10/24/12) - Your breath may be the key to finding out if you have certain kinds of cancers. A simple test is offering answers when it comes to some of the most complicated cancers.
Doctors at Cleveland Clinic are working on a breath test, similar to the one used for field sobriety tests, that can detect liver, kidney, and heart disease.
"The way I look at breath testing, it's the new frontier of medical testing," says Dr. Raed Dwelk, of the Cleveland Clinic.
The breath is key because a lot of things, good and bad, make their way from our tissues to our blood, and go through our lungs.
"Our breath works kind of like an exhaust system for the body. Depending on how the different body parts are working, the chemicals in the breath might be different," says lung specialist, Dr. Peter Mazzone.
Dr. Dwelk says hi-tech sensors can detect differences up to a part per-billion in a person's chemistry. "That's how sensitive these devices are."
Studies show the breath test to be 80 percent accurate in not only detecting lung cancer, but also the type, the stage, and how aggressive the cancer is.
Dwelk hopes the breath test will one day detect all types of cancer. "That's the holy grail of breath testing."
Doctors at the Cleveland clinic hope to have this in general practitioners offices within five years. Soon after, they hope to develop a test that would work through your smart phone.
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