Cancer detection may be made easier by testing patients’ hair for mineral content
According to a new study by researchers at the Hyogo Prefectural
Center for Advanced Science and Technology, high tech hair analysis
can be used to detect cancer. The study reveals that abnormally
high levels of calcium, potassium, and other minerals appear in
the hair of people with cancer. For example, breast cancer patients
showed a high density of calcium levels in their hair for some
time before they were diagnosed.
The head of the center, Junichi Chikawa, believes the findings
can be used to develop a simple test to detect cancer, and possibly
other diseases too, as research continues. By testing patients’ hair
and then evaluating more closely the health of those with abnormally
high mineral densities, Chikawa believes more and more diseases
can become detectable earlier.
Hair grows about 1cm per month, so a 12cm-long strand contains
a year-long record of biological history. Researchers tested the
hair of 17 breast cancer patients to find that 8 to 12 months
before diagnosis, the calcium density of their hair was already
five to ten times the normal level. The calcium density in the
hair then gradually returned to normal levels in later months.
For patients with liver cancer, the abnormality was low potassium
and germanium levels months before diagnosis. Chikawa believes
the onset of the cancer disturbs metabolism of the various minerals,
causing the temporarily high levels in the hair.