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Discovering colon cancer through a breath test…

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Professor Lovat
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Colorectal cancer, the second most common cancer, can be found in the colon or rectum in the form of a lump, tumor, or growth. Current methods of screening for colorectal cancer include:

Colonoscopy: by inserting a small video camera into your body, a colonoscopy can provide visual diagnoses and can take small biopsies if necessary.

Blood stool test: a sample of a patient’s stool is sent to a laboratory to be examined for blood.

Barium enema X-ray: a colored dye is injected into a person’s bowel so that the small intestine, the colon and the rectum are visible. If anything appears abnormal, a colonoscopy is recommended.

Now, studies show that detecting colorectal cancer through a simple breath test, much like the breathalyzer test taken to measure blood alcohol levels while driving, may be a faster, more comfortable and less invasive diagnostic method in the near future. Researchers are looking at ways to perfect this procedure; to eliminate the occurrence of false positives.

This is still being developed and is not yet available for routine use but when it is, we aim to offer it because it is so much simpler than the tests we do at the moment. To read more about the research, click here.

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