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New breath test could detect early mesothelioma

Asbestos can still be located in many old buildings in Georgia. This means that residents are still at risk for exposure. Mesothelioma, often caused by asbestos exposure, is one of the deadliest cancers around, and many diagnoses come too late. Patients often die within a year of diagnosis. However, a study is underway that could develop a test for early detection.

Current tests, which look for cancer biomarkers in the blood and lung fluid, are not effective for early mesothelioma. This led scientists in the U.K. to develop a breath test that can capture the volatile organic compounds that a cancer patient exhales. VOCs are the result of biochemical changes in the body caused by the cancer, and each cancer produces its own unique VOCs.

With this, the Breath Biopsy was developed. Cancer Research UK has launched a two-year clinical trial of the device and has recruited 1,500 study participants. These are made up of those with and without cancer. All that's required is that they breathe into the Breath Biopsy for 10 minutes; the results are analyzed later in a lab.

One advantage is that getting a breath signature is painless and non-invasive as well as quick and cheap. More patients will be willing to undergo it, and it could be combined with other tests for even more effective results.

There are cases in which a mesothelioma patient may be able to file a personal injury claim. They will need to show that they developed the condition in unsafe conditions made possible through the negligence of another. With help from a lawyer, a victim could secure compensation. For example, an attorney could hire investigators and medical experts to obtain proof of negligence, link the cancer to unsafe conditions and determine the total cost of medical care. The lawyer could then negotiate for a settlement.

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