People usually believe that bad breath is a simple case of poor oral hygiene that allows food residue to cause bad breath in the mouth. However, some conditions such as diabetes, liver and kidney problems may as well be behind bad breath. The worst is, bad breath may just be a manifestation of a dreaded disease in the form of cancer. Yes, it might not be as simple as you think because this may just be manifestation of any malignancy that involves the head and neck.
This finding is supported by a research aimed to develop a new diagnostic tool for cancer. As published in the Journal of Cancer Research, a new device called Nano Artificial Nose or Na-Nose is a special device that is able to detect metabolic byproducts as a result of head and neck cancer in the breath of patients. In short, this device can actually smell cancers in the head and neck. This also means that certain mouth odors can actually be a sign of head and neck cancer.
The study involved 82 subjects that include 36 healthy individuals, 24 with lung cancer and 22 with head and neck cancer. This study was initially done to devise new ways to detect head and neck cancers because these types of malignancies are usually difficult to diagnose.
The result of the study revealed that a simple, breath test can actually detect molecular patterns that happen in the head and neck of people. This result was initially found in a smaller study so the researchers used this result in larger study to devise a potential tool to screen head and neck cancers.
The main goal of this special breath test is to detect head and neck cancers at an early stage to prevent more complications and spread to other parts of the body. Using this possible breath test in detecting head and neck cancers, patients are given more treatment approaches early in the disease. Early diagnosis of cancer using Na-Nose can improve the prognosis of patients because cancers usually have poorer prognosis when treatments are employed on the later stages of the disease.
The advanced technology using Na-Nose is able to detect presence of chemical compounds in the breath of a person. Na-Nose is also sensitive in determining people with or without cancer using the breath. In addition, it can also detect whether patients have head and neck cancers or lung cancers. Nevertheless, this research is still at the start of investigation and some research still needs to be conducted in order to devise an accurate tool to detect head and neck cancers even in the clinics.
The implication of the study may also mean that the presence of unpleasant or unusual odor in the mouth could just be a sign of head and neck cancers, which need to be addressed immediately. Although bad breath is considered a simple condition that can be managed by various remedies, people should still exercise precautionary measures to prevent more serious illnesses such as cancer.