Breathalyzer: Detecting Cancer through Breath

There is no denying that cancer happens to be one of the most serious conditions out there. The fatal rate remains way high than any other complication. Anyone can be inflicted with cancer regardless of how their lifestyle has been.

To make the matters worse, it often becomes difficult for people to detect accurately when their body might contain carcinogens. To overcome this UK medical scientist have come up with a possible solution in the form of a breathalyzer. What this device can do is phenomenal and may turn out to be a big breakthrough in the field of medicine.

Click here to read the press release 

What is the “Breathalyzer?”

As the name may possibly suggest, the breathalyzer is a breath test. But it is not your ordinary testing device, rather it can detect multiple forms of cancers.

A number of conditions are known to exhibit the symptom of a significant type of breath. No matter, how serious the condition is, this symptom can signify the presence of an underlying disease. You might have heard of the diabetic smell that is quite similar to that of rotten apples. Or to consider the other example of Typhoid Fever.

In this illness, a person may experience a smell like that of baked bread. Either way, scientists have concluded that people inflicted with cancer are also likely to experience this symptom. To check for that, the breathalyzer is the right device to use.

The study was conducted by the Cancer Research UK and the trials continued for as long as two years. The Breath Biopsy procedure was carried out to collect the air particles exhaled by cancer patients.

When a body functions normally, the air particles called Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs are synthesized. They have a fixed pattern that is believed to be disrupted in the presence of cancer-causing cells. The inherent purpose, according to the lead researcher, is to visualize the pattern that will be documented through the Breathalyzer.

About 1500 people volunteered for the studies. Among the sample were patients with different types of cancer including prostate, kidney, pancreatic, bladder and liver.

The device is pretty simple to use. All the person has to do is exhale out for about 10 minutes.

The importance of Breathalyzer

Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald is heading the investigation being carried out by Cancer Research UK. She strongly supports inventions like the Breathalyzer and believes that it can bring about a revolution in the field of Oncology. According to her, this device is needed by doctors more so than ever.

Most cancers go undetected even if the person suspects him/herself to be inflicted with one. There are a number of underlying suspicions and the cost factor limits the person from carrying out traditional examinations. As a result, allowing cancer to go untreated until it moves into the later serious stages.

About 50% of the patients admitted in cancer hospitals had their illness diagnosed post the first stage. If the condition was recorded at the right time, then the necessary treatment could have yielded meaningful results. Therefore early detection of cancer is the key and can be a life-changing decision.

The Breathalyzer is therefore made to solve the problem of late cancer detection. The inventors aim at making it as affordable as they possibly can so a large number of people have access to it.


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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