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New device may be able to detect mesothelioma early

Mesothelioma is, undoubtedly, a devastating disease. About 20,000 people die every year from malignant mesothelioma, and one of the most tragic traits of this disease is that it can take years to detect. However, researchers are optimistic about a new device that may make it easier to identify malignant mesothelioma in early stages.

For people who may not be familiar with mesothelioma, it is a form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. The fiber was commonly used in construction materials until the 1980s because it was cheap and resistant to heat. It is now known that people who were exposed to airborne asbestos as long as 50 years ago may develop mesothelioma.

All too often, a diagnosis of mesothelioma comes too late. It can be very aggressive and victims can die shortly after detection. But with the development of a new device, Australian researchers are hoping that they can stop the spread of mesothelioma.

The device is essentially an electronic nose. According to reports, breath samples from people with and without malignant mesothelioma were tested by the device. In nearly 90 percent of the tests, the device correctly identified patients with the lethal disease.

With early detection, it is hoped that victims of mesothelioma will be able to extend their lives considerably. Given sufficient time, doctors can find the right treatment to stop the disease from spreading. It can also give victims a chance to track down the source of the asbestos exposure which caused the disease and take appropriate action.

Source: Technorati, "Early Detection of Malignant Mesothelioma Using Breath Testing Device," Usman Zafar Paracha, Aug. 2, 2012

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