New Zealand develops swab test for lung cancer risk

Wellington, June 09: New Zealand researchers have developed a mouth swab test to predict smokers’ risk of getting lung cancer, news reports said Tuesday. Associate Professor Robert Young, of Auckland University, said the test combined clinical risk factors, including age, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and family history of lung cancer, with DNA obtained through mouth swabs.

He said all smokers faced an increased risk of developing lung cancer but the risk was much greater for some than others.

The test, which will cost 275 New Zealand dollars ($170.50), will tell smokers whether they have an average, high or very risk of developing the disease, he told Radio New Zealand.

But Young said there was no such thing as low risk for smokers and everybody should be encouraged to stop smoking.

Smokers who found themselves at the lower end of the risk scale should not see it as an excuse “to happily go on smoking”, he said.