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Could breath test detect lung cancer?

12 February 2015 09:57

Could a simple breath test detect lung cancer?

Could a simple breath test detect lung cancer?

People could soon detect whether they have lung cancer using a simple breath test.

The hand-held device, which will begin clinical tests in two NHS hospitals, could be available to GPs by 2017.

The Lung Cancer Indicator Detection (LuCID) device finds chemical clues in patients' breath which can show they may have the illness.

Whether travellers have survived cancer or have another long-term condition it is wise to take out pre-existing medical travel insurance.

What its co-creator says

The LuCID device is made by Owlstone, an offshoot of Cambridge University.

The company's co-founder Billy Boyle told Sky News the device could be available to family doctors in two years' time.

He said the device's software chips are programmed to detect the different chemical markers and tell-tale signs which characterise abnormal, cancerous cells.

He said the aim is to save 10,000 lives through the device.

Lung cancer symptoms

• breathlessness

• coughing that persists for over three weeks

• unexplained weight loss

• blood in the mucus or phlegm

• pain

• wheezing on one half of the chest, so that sleeping becomes difficult on this side

As many as 35,000 people die from lung cancer every year and more than 41,000 patients are detected with the disease annually.