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New lung cancer test provides physicians, patients promising new screening option

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States for both men and women, and the second most common form of cancer in general. Lung cancer is most often associated with smoking cigarettes, though it can also be caused by exposure to certain chemicals or environments. In some cases, lung cancer can occur among those with no known risk factors.

As with any form of lung cancer, early detection is a key to ensuring effective treatment. Early detection requires understanding the risk factors, signs and symptoms of lung cancer and appropriately screening for the disease. At present, there are a variety of tests used to detect lung cancer. These include sputum cytology, chest x-rays and CT scans, though there are others as well. 

One innovative new way to screen for lung cancer is a breath analysis test. With this approach, the patient is asked to blow a single breath into a balloon which is connected to a pump containing a microchip. The microchip can be analyzed in a lab to identify various chemical compounds present in the patient's breath, including those associated with lung cancer. The breath test can be used not only for early detection of lung cancer, but also to track the progress of lung cancer survivors to provide more effective treatment.

Early detection of cancer and other serious diseases is critical to ensuring effective treatment for patients, but physicians don't always provide the level of attention and follow-through patients need and deserve. We'll continue looking at this issue in our next post and why it is important to work with an experienced attorney when seeking compensation from a negligent physician.

Source: American Cancer Society, "Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection," Accessed June 30, 2016. 

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