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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Breath and Urine Tests Detect Breast Cancer: Inexpensive Screening for Early Discovery

Early-stage breast cancer can be accurately detected via a simple breath test and urine sample, report researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel. Using electronic nose sensors and gas-chromatography mass spectrometry to analyze breath and urine, respectively, they were able to identify biomarkers for breast cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women worldwide. “Our new approach… with inexpensive, commercially available processes, is non-invasive, accessible and may be easily implemented in a variety of settings,” says study co-author Yehuda Zeiri, Ph.D.

Mammography, the common screening test for breast cancer, is typically 75 to 85 percent accurate, a figure that drops for full-bodied women and those with dense breast tissue. Dual-energy digital mammography is more accurate, but increases radiation exposure, and MRIs are more expensive.

The Israeli research, published in the journal Computers in Biology and Medicine, compared breath and urine samples taken from 85 women with breast cancer and 81 healthy women. The electronic e-nose device, picking up on a unique breath pattern, detected cancer cells accurately 95 percent of the time. The urine test proved 85 percent accurate. “With further study, it may also be possible to analyze exhaled breath and urine samples to identify other cancer types, as well,” says Zeiri.


This article appears in the November 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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