Potential Method for Early Lung Cancer Screening

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In a study published in the online journal Cancer Research researchers from Northwestern University and North Shore University Health System reported a method for detecting early lung cancer by examining cheek cells using pioneering biophotonic technology. This optical technique is called partial wave spectroscopic (PWS) microscopy and involves shinning diffuse light on cells from the patient’s cheeks. The PWS can detects cell features as small as 20 nanometers and uncovers differences that seem normal when standard microscopic techniques are used. The disordered strength of the nanoscale organization of the cell which can be measured with the PWS is one of the earliest signs of carcinogenesis according to the researchers.
Following a small scale trial using this technology the researchers studies 135 participants including 63 smokers with lung cancer and 37 smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 13 smokers without COPD and 22 non-smokers and the test was sensitive to cancer and equally sensitivity to cancer at all stages including early curable cancer.
Patients with lung cancer showed markedly elevated results (over 50 percent) when tested with PWS compared to cancer-free smokers. Additional, large scale studies are necessary to confirm these results.

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