Researchers from China and Israel used a new method that was 90 percent accurate in detecting stomach cancers from other common stomach problems in 130 patients just by having them breathe.

Current diagnosis methods of stomach cancer are invasive. Doctors have to perform an endoscopy, sometimes while the patient is under anesthesia. They then have to biopsy the inside of the stomach using a camera, which itself is difficult.

According to the National Cancer Institute: "It is estimated that 21,320 men and women (13,020 men and 8,300 women) will be diagnosed with and 10,540 men and women will die of cancer of the stomach in 2012."

Researchers used a new nanomaterial based breath test to accurately detect cancer in patients that presented with stomach problems. Thirty-seven of the patients had stomach cancer, 32 had stomach ulcers and 61 had other stomach problems.

The new material can detect volatile organic compounds, which are chemicals that easily evaporate into the air at room temperature. It is already known that dogs can smell some of these chemicals and accurately identify patients that had tumors 71 percent of the time.

Researchers hope this will be a fast and cheap tool to diagnose stomach cancers in the developing world.

The conclusion in their report stated: "The preliminary results of this pilot study could open a new and promising avenue to diagnose GC [gastric cancer] and distinguish it from other gastric diseases"

They continued "Although this pilot study does not allow drawing far-reaching conclusions, the encouraging preliminary results presented here have initiated a large multicentre clinical trial to confirm the observed patterns for GC and benign gastric conditions."

The report published in the British Journal of Cancer can be found here.