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Medicine Technology

Sniffing Out Cancer With Electronic Noses 22

An anonymous reader writes "We may soon be able to obtain easy and early diagnoses of diseases by smell. This week researchers found one odor-sniffing machine was as good as a mammogram at detecting breast cancer — and many other devices capable of spotting other diseases may be on the way."
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Sniffing Out Cancer With Electronic Noses

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  • Early Detection (Score:5, Informative)

    by johnnyb (4816) <> on Monday March 10, 2014 @09:24AM (#46445141) Homepage

    The problem with early detection is that many diseases are actually benign in their early stages, and, when detected, their detection can actually cause more harm for the patient. For instance, early cancer detection increases the likelihood that the patient will start chemo. Some cancers wind up being handled by the body, but *all* chemo treatments harm patients. So, early detection sometimes leads to more harm than benefit (plus an unfortunate issue with "success" rates - the cancer treatments get to include in their "success" count cancers that the body would have cleaned up anyway).

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department