Lung cancer
Growth shown on the left side of the lungwiki commons

Temperature differences in a person's breath can tell whether he or she is suffering from lung cancer, claims a new study.

Professor Giovanna Elisiana Carpagnano and colleagues from the University of Foggia in Italy found that people with lung cancer had higher breath temperature than people without cancer.

During the study, 82 people with suspected lung cancer underwent a complete lung cancer diagnosis. About half of the participants (40) were diagnosed with lung cancer.

Researchers used X-halo breath thermometer to measure temperature of exhaled breath in participants.

People who received a positive cancer diagnosis exhibited higher breath temperature than people without cancer. Breath temperature went up with the more years the patient smoked and the more his/her cancer had advanced.

Interestingly, researchers also expected "a cut-off value in the measurement of the temperature" they noticed during their research, to improve lung cancer diagnosis.

"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,"Carpagnano , said in a news release.

Interestingly, the test will be highly useful for people who cannot afford expensive diagnostic procedures currently available to detect lung cancer. "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," Carpagnano, added.

The study was presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress held in Munich, Germany on Monday, 8 September.

Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death across the whole globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer claimed nearly 7.6 million lives in 2008, and lung cancer contributed to 1.37 million deaths. According to a 2011 WHO data, a death rate of 142.1 per 100,000 persons was reported in India.

Improving lung cancer diagnosis has been the top most priority among scientists across the world. Early this year, Michael Bousamra and colleagues from the University of Louisville in the US developed a special device that detected early stages of lung cancer. The device that consisted of a silicone microprocessor and mass spectrometer, worked by measuring levels of specific volatile organic compounds known as carbonyls, including aldehydes and ketones, in the exhaled breath of the people. People with lung cancer had elevated levels of three or four compounds in breath than others.