When it comes to treating cancer, early detection and treatment are critical to success. Screening guidelines exist for a wide variety of cancers, with breast, colon, and skin cancer being among the more well known and performed screenings. Some forms of cancer are harder to diagnose than others.
As our knowledge and technology continues to develop, we will hopefully have more and more screening options available to for a variety of cancers. A recent example of such a development is a straightforward breath test which apparently can help identify chemical compounds indicating the presence of lung cancer. The test used in the study is not approved by the FDA, but it may be someday. The cost is reportedly quite low, which would make it accessible to the public.
More research needs to be conducted on the breath test to determine its efficacy as a screening tool. What is promising about the testing method, though, is that it promises greater accuracy than many existing screening tests for lung cancer. Many of these screening tests have less than ideal efficacy in terms of quickly detecting cancerous tissue, though some testing methods are better than others.
Physicians, particularly those who are cancer specialists, use various assessments and tests to evaluate a patient’s risk and condition. Physicians are expected to carefully monitor their patient’s condition and symptoms and refer to cancer specialists or order screening tests when appropriate.
In our next post, we’ll keep looking at this issue, and what patients need to do when they are harmed by a physician’s failure to take appropriate steps to address cancer diagnostics.