If you’ve put off a colonoscopy, there may someday be an easier screening on the horizon. Researchers have recently found that they could accurately detect patients’ colon cancer through breath samples 76% of the time.
The study results were recently reported in the British Journal of Surgery. Researchers tested 78 people with and without colon cancer and were able to determine if they had cancer by measuring a pattern of chemicals in their breath.
Using breath tests to find cancer has been done before. Researchers have studied if breath tests can help detect lung and breast tumors. These are based on previous research that has shown that breath samples from cancer patients often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). So, maybe one day your dentist will be your testing source for colon cancer, as well as lung and breast tumors.
But don’t put off preventive screening for colon cancer in anticipation of this breath test just yet, says Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancers for the American Cancer Society. Brooks described the test in an interview with U.S. News and World Report as “an interesting concept, but this in its very early stages.”
He says there are other good ways to detect colon cancer, yet more than 40% of us who should be screened have not. Should you be screened for colon cancer? Take a look at the American Cancer Society colon cancer screening guidelines to find out.