freephone 0800 862 0373
Sign in to view your quotes
Email address:
Password or PIN:

Forgotten your password? Reset it here.

Bowel cancer diagnosed with a simple breath test

Published on 05/12/2012

A test has been developed by scientists that can diagnose bowel cancer just from analysing a patient’s breath.

The new breath test is similar to a breathalyser

Cancerous tumours are known to produce “volatile organic compounds” which are unlikely to be found in a healthy person. These combinations of chemicals can be found in a small amount in the breath of a cancer patient.

Now, a team of scientists from a hospital in Bari in Southern Italy have developed an electronic breath-test which identifies these exhaled chemicals, similar to the one used to determine when a driver has had too much to drink.

Writing in the British Journal of Surgery, researchers compared the breath of 37 patients known to have bowel cancer with that of 41 healthy participants.

The initial test identified the cancer patients with 85% accuracy, but the results fell to 76% when combined with a follow-up test. The scientists said:

"The present findings further support the value of breath-testing as a screening tool."

In England, bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer. In 2009, there were 41,142 new cases of bowel cancer registered in the UK.

Current screening for bowel cancer looks for signs of faeces in the blood. However, because only a small proportion of those who test positive actually have the disease, it can lead to unnecessary and invasive testing.

Scientists say that larger studies are now needed to fine-tune the test and confirm it works. They are also working on breath tests for other diseases, including several types of cancer, diabetes and TB.

Dr Claire Turner, a lecturer in analytical chemistry at the Open University, said: "These technologies show a great deal of promise, and hopefully we will see larger studies in the future.

"However, we are unlikely to see this kind of breath testing available widely in the short term."

If the breath test proves successful in further studies then it may be awarded a European license and available for private prescription. Once it has been licensed, patients with private health insurance could have access to it on their policy.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Medical
Bowel cancer diagnosed with a simple breath testA test has been developed by scientists that can diagnose bowel cancer just from analysing a patient’s breath. The new breath test is    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

No.1 health insurance broker as rated by customers

Proactive, efficient, and offered me insurance I need. I would say half price I would end up paying if I did it by myself. Many thanks.

Review centre member

Excellent service. Explained everything in detail and really helped to find the right insurance best suited to my needs - which wasn't necessarily the most expensive. 

Review centre member

Good value and the advisor was very helpful and recommended the best policy for my grandson. I would definitely use this service again and recommend to others.

Review centre member

We were contacted in good time to make a knowledgable choice. We were given plenty of options with lots of information to enable us to make the right choice.

Review centre member

The service I received was excellent, the staff member was very efficient and knowledgable. She went out of her way to get the best policy for me.

Review centre member

Great service. I really appreciated the help provided by Active Quote to arrange health insurance. The agent was very informative and proactive. Many thanks!

Review centre member

I received excellent care and attention from the first phone call till the last. Friendly, efficient and patient.

Review centre member

Staff are very helpful, friendly and polite. They call back when they say they will and keep you up to date with progress. Pleasure to deal with.

Review centre member

Very polite and friendly, and gave detailed explanations of all aspects of the cover. Reassuring to know that if you do have a problem there is someone you can contact.

Review centre member

Friendly and efficient. Nothing was too much trouble even when i needed to make a small change, excellent service.

Review centre member
This site is operated by Insurance Broker ActiveQuote Ltd registered in England & Wales company number 6765845.
Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm reference number 501109 as detailed on the Financial Services Register. Please read our Key Facts document.
For information about your rights as a consumer visit Citizens Advice.

Our insurance comparison service is free and easy for you to use, but you are responsible for making sure all your information is entered correctly, and for choosing your insurer.

This site uses cookies in order to work correctly - these are not harmful and do not contain personal information. By using this site you consent to this. I understand  Tell me more

please wait ...