"Breath Test Can Save Money And Catch Cancer Early" - Chantel Strachan, MD
The only way to test for symptoms of stomach or esophageal cancer is to undergo an upper endoscopy, a test that can be invasive, cost thousands of dollars and has a small percentage of success in actually finding a tumor. Researchers in the U.K. wanted a diagnostic tool that would be easier and cheaper to test for these cancers so they used a noninvasive breath test to collect samples of 500cc of exhaled breath from 335 people, 172 of which they knew had those cancers, after a minimum four-hour fast. The breath test was able to accurately identify esophageal or gastric cancer about 80 percent of the time. Raja Flores, MD, system chair of the department of thoracic surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System, said that endoscopy is underutilized in the United States. Dr. Flores, who was not involved in the study, noted that the breath test is not the current standard of care. If this new diagnostic tool is proven to succeed, many doctors might want to change their approach to patients and how they screen cancer.
- Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames Professorship in Thoracic Surgery, Director, Thoracic Surgical Oncology Program, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, System Chair, Thoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System