Detecting lung cancer can now be as simple as exhaling into a specially-designed thermometer, which is good news, since it's dastardly difficult to detect.

A research paper presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Munich suggests that a simple, non-invasive breath test could be enough to detect the deadly disease.

Here's how the researchers went about the experiment: 82 people, who had been referred for a full diagnostic test after an X-Ray suggested the presence of lung cancer, were asked to breathe into a breath thermometer known as an X-Halo device. (Ex-hale…get it?)

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Almost half of them received a positive diagnosis, while the other half came up negative. When the researchers measured the breath temperature of the patients who tested positive, they found it higher than those who didn't. The temperature was higher if the cancer had progressed. It was also higher in long-term smokers.

"If we are able to refine a test to diagnose lung cancer by measuring breath temperature, we will improve the diagnostic process by providing patients with a stress-free and simple test that is also cheaper and less intensive for clinicians," one of the researchers involved in the study told Eureka Alert.

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You could, of course, just have a dog sniff your breath. [Eureka Alert]

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