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How does breath analysis to detect lung cancer work?

The process of breath analysis to detect lung cancer is relatively simple. The person blows a single breath into a specialized balloon. The balloon is then connected to a pump that pulls the breath over a small microchip (smaller than a quarter), trapping the chemicals. The microchip is sent to the lab where the chemicals are analyzed within hours. Breath collection can be performed in the doctor’s office. The pump is reusable; the balloon, microchip and lab test together cost around $20, all supporting the increasing acceptance of breath tests as a cost-effective, easy-to-perform, noninvasive and rapid option for the diagnosis of lung cancer.
 
The great potential with breath analysis is detecting lung cancer at any point, both as a primary screening tool and to follow people after the disease has been treated.

To obtain FDA approval for the test as a screening tool for lung cancer, a very large multicenter trial of approximately 7,000 people needs to be done, to show that the breath test is as good a method of identifying lung cancer as CT scans are. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.