Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death among South African men. It is also responsible for being the most cancer-related deaths in the world, according to local research and support organisation CANSA.
But scientists have now figured out a simple way to detect the cancer – by measuring the temperature of your breath.
Presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in Munich, studies have shown that by simply taking the temperature of exhaled breath could be used to diagnose South Africa’s second most common cancer in men, and the sixth leading cancer in women in terms of diagnosis.
The study was done on 82 people “who had been referred for a full diagnostic test” after x-ray testing suggested that they could possibly have lung cancer. Out of the patients tested, 40 tested positive, while 42 patients had the diagnosis rejected.
The temperature of all patients were taken with a breath thermometer device, known as an X-Halo device, and it was found that those with lung cancer present had a higher breath temperature than those that were cancer-free. They also noted that the temperature increased at the stage at which their lung cancer had developed.
“Our results suggest that lung cancer causes an increase in the exhaled temperature. This is a significant finding and could change the way we currently diagnose the disease. If we are able to refine a test to diagnose lung cancer by measuring breath temperature, we will improve the diagnostic process by providing patients with a stress-free and simple test that is also cheaper and less intensive for clinicians,” said professor Giovanna Elisiana Carpagnano, lead author of the study from the University of Foggia, in a press statement.