Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the United States. This particular cancer accounts for about 130,180 deaths from lung cancer (68,820 in men and 61,360 in women) and 236,740 new cases of lung cancer (117,910 in men and 118,830 in women).
Lung cancers are usually diagnosed by an oncologist using an X-ray. An X-ray image of your lungs may reveal an abnormal mass or nodule. A CT scan can reveal small lesions in your lungs that might not be detected on an X-ray. Sputum cytology. If you have a cough and are producing sputum, looking at the sputum under a microscope can sometimes reveal the presence of lung cancer cells.
Breath tests can also be used to diagnose lung cancer and many other cancers. Yes, the smell of your breath could be an early sign of cancer. By analyzing your breath, your doctor should be able to tell whether or not you have lung cancer. Like most other cancers, they produce certain chemical compounds. In the case of lung cancer, patients who have the condition have volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—mainly alkanes and benzene derivatives—in their breath. This is especially true because when air passes through the lungs, the breath will pick up those volatile organic compounds, making your exhale distinctive.
When a lung cancer patient breathes into the testing device, the dye that is sensitive to VOCs automatically changes color. Because the dye reacts to even trace amounts of VOCs, this methodology has a 75% success rate.This can be an efficient and less costly method of diagnosing lung cancer. Other practical and standard ways of detecting lung cancer include chest X-rays. A chest X-ray is usually the first test used to diagnose lung cancer; CT scan; PET-CT scan; Bronchoscopy and biopsy; Other types of biopsy; Staging.
What Does Lung Cancer Breath Smell Like?
Well, it will be difficult to know exactly how lung cancer breath smells. But know that it will be a different smell compared to halitosis and bad breath as a result of other conditions. Patients with lung cancer have volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds are responsible for odours and aromas. VOCs can basically be found in things like food, paint thinner, and perfumes. VOCs are characterized by having a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Lung cancer breath smell will be completely different from what you’d be expecting.
Diseases and Conditions that Cause Bad Breath
Aside lung cancer, there are several other underlying diseases and conditions that can cause a change in your breath. respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
- Long-term (chronic) sinus infections
- Postnasal drip
- Chronic and Acid Reflux
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Chronic lung infection
- Cystic fibrosis
How can you prevent bad breath if you’re having either of these conditions?
- You should rinse your sinuses with warm water to clear out the mucus from the area
- Always take allergy medication prescribed by your physician
- Take an antibiotic prescribed by your physician
There are some good treatment solutions for chronic conditions as well.
Try nasal irrigation, antibiotics, or nasal steroids as recommended by your physician
Stay hydrated to avoid dry mouth
See your oncologist for specific recommendations.