A new method for diagnosing gastric cancer via breath samples can help distinguish between cancer and other gastric ailments such as ulcers as much as 90 percent of the time, according to BBC News. The 130-person study was published this week (March 5) in the British Journal of Cancer.
In the United Kingdom, about 7,000 people develop stomach cancer each year, with only a fifth of patients surviving 5 years post-treatment. This high mortality rate stems, in part, from the fact that most cancers diagnosed via biopsy probe threaded through the mouth in late stages of the disease, but the new technique stands to change that.
In addition to distinguishing between the 37 patients with stomach cancer, the 32 with ulcers, and the 61 with other gastrointestinal complaints, the test could also differentiate between early and late stage cancer. “The results of this latest study are promising, although large scale trials will now be needed to confirm these findings,” Kate Law, director of clinical research at Cancer Research UK, told the BBC.