A simple breath test could help predict whether people with gut problems are at high risk of developing stomach cancer.
Scientists are hoping that the early study could develop to save thousands of lives, including many of the 7,300 people diagnosed with stomach cancer in the UK each year.
The test works by detecting chemical compounds in the breath of people in an attempt to distinguish unique ‘breath prints’ in those with risky pre-cancerous changes.
Experts say if proven in large trials, it could spot patients on the brink of cancer so they can be treated earlier.
Symptoms of stomach cancer are often mistaken for other complaints and there is no effective early screening test, so is often diagnosed when it is too late for treatment to be effective.
The new test developed by Israeli scientists senses tiny changes in the level of organic compounds in exhaled breath which signal that stomach cancer is present.
More research is required to validate the test, and research involving thousands of European patients is now underway.