Imagine being able to detect prostate cancer simply by its smell. Sounds unreal, but a British team of researchers has created exactly that. The findings were recently published in the University Of Liverpool. The device they have developed, the Odoreader, is a non-invasive diagnostic test that can smell prostate cancer in urine through the use of gas and particle separation.
The device uses a laboratory technique called gas chromatography, used in analytical chemistry, that allows for separation of mixtures into different parts.
For the study, the device was tested on 115 men who were seeking care at urology clinics across England. Of those 115, 58 men had prostate cancer, 24 had bladder cancer and 73 had blood in their urine. For each participant, the Odoreader successfully detected cancer in the urine. This new discovery could change the face of prostate cancer by making detection much easier—thereby potentially saving lives, and decreasing the morbidity rate.
This is great news for those who have to suffer through painful, uncomfortable prostate probe exams. The most common initial diagnostic test for prostate cancer involves a doctor manually checking for the cancer in the rectum.
Study authors concluded that “the GC system is able to successfully identify patterns that allow classification of urine samples from patients with urological cancers. An accurate diagnosis based on urine samples would reduce the number of negative prostate biopsies performed, and the frequency of surveillance cystoscopy for bladder cancer patients.”
Researchers plan to have more thorough studies to further understand this system. Future studies may lead to breath analyses’ for identifying urological disorders.
Over 220,000 men a year in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and close to 28,000 men die each year from it, so this news brings hope for those currently battling this cancer.
As Healthline reported, Dr. Chris Probert, a professor at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Translational Medicine, who was not part of the study, stated that, “There is an urgent need to identify these cancers at an earlier stage when they are more treatable as the earlier a person is diagnosed the better.”
There are five early signs of prostate cancer. The first two signs of possible prostate cancer are difficulty going to the bathroom and inconsistent urine flow, for example, if it isn’t coming out in one stream. Back pain and sexual problems are other signs that there might be a problem with the prostate. And if one has back pain as well as other symptoms, then a trip to the doctor is advisable.
The second leading cause of death by cancer in American men is prostate cancer. It typically affects older men over the age of 60, and is mostly treatable and curable if caught in time. The Odoreader has the potential to change how diagnostic testing is done for prostate cancer—that can bring hope to many patients.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“New milestone for device that can ‘smell’ prostate cancer,” University Of Liverpool, February 11, 2016.