Cancer is steadily climbing its way towards becoming the number one killer in the United States. Already having climbed to the first spot in 22 states, the disease is one of the most devastating for someone suffering from it. And this relates to the disease itself, to the treatment, and even to the testing procedures. In an attempt to improve cancer diagnoses, a team of scientists from England developed a new test to detect cancer by “smelling” urine samples.
Gas can detect cancer
For the study, the team of researchers looked at a sample of 155 men. From these subjects, 58 suffered from prostate cancer, 24 suffered from bladder cancer, while the remaining 73 had urological problems, but did not have any traces of cancer.
By using a gas chromatography sensor (GC sensor) also referred to as the Odoreader, the team had it analyze the urine samples provided by all 155 subjects. The deice works by identifying different amounts and patterns of volatile compounds in the patients’ urine.
With the help of algorithms and further advanced mathematical and statistical methods, the team managed to get the device to identify each type of cancer. Apparently, each type of urine gets a different algorithm associated to it by the machine.
According to the researchers, cancers produce distinct chemicals, each one different than another type, because of their specific biochemistry. If you use the right technology, you can detect these unusual chemicals and identify the type of cancer.
Risks and benefits
First of all, the test can be performed pretty much anywhere. The patient only has to provide a urine sample, and the doctor will use the small device to take care of the rest. The device will most likely be revolutionary for cancer research one it is approved.
Second of all, there currently aren’t any accurate tests for prostate cancer, leading to pointless and painful biopsies, risk of infection, huge psychological consequences, and after all these even in missing cancer cases.
This test won’t be ideal for testing for prostate cancer either, as there is very little urine created in the prostate; however, if combined with an additional simple screening, the chances of detection rise dramatically, making it the best option out there (or rather soon to be out there).
Additionally, with just the tiniest amount of tweaking, the test can basically detect pretty much any type of cancer that involves fluids of any kind.
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