Lung cancer kills thousands of people every year. Can you really screen for this deadly disease with a finger test? With nearly 46,363 cases in 2018, lung cancer ranks 4th among the most common cancers. Early diagnosis is therefore essential to increase the chances of recovery from the disease. In
this sense, a British nurse has prepared a thesis for finger-based screening. Circulating on social networks, this technique known as the Schamroth test, has aroused the curiosity and skepticism of many media including the Huffington Post.
Lung cancer is one of the deadliest disease and is evolving at lightning speed. Thus, many scientists are regularly examining the issue to find ways to detect the disease as soon as possible. Recently, an alleged method of screening has been all the rage in the media: “the Schamroth test”. Between
allegations, expert opinions and controversies, we tell you more.
“Schamroth test”: Origin and principle
The Schamroth test was highlighted by Emma Norton, an oncology nurse at BUPA Cromwell Hospital. To carry out the test, simply place the upper part of the two indexes against each other and see if a diamond-shaped space appears. If so, the nurse claims that the person is in good health. But if there
is no space, it could indicate a serious illness.
“Most people with lung cancer don’t know that their fingers are deformed until they can see it specifically,” she told The Huffington Post. According to the specialist “the test is used by medical professionals as a complementary method to confirm the results, but you can also do it yourself, and it only takes a few seconds”.
In reality, the Schamroth test consists of spotting a digital hippocratism, in English “finger clubbing”. The latter involves a widening of the tip of the fingers or toes as well as a change in the angle at the base of the nail, says the MSD Manual. Generally, this distortion of the appearance of the fingers is caused by an increase in the amount of soft tissue present under the nail. This mechanism may be linked to certain pulmonary, cardiac or hepatic diseases. But sometimes hippocratism is hereditary and does not signal any underlying disease.
While it would be particularly interesting to find such a simple test for detecting lung cancer, experts remain skeptical. The British Cancer Reseach UK center estimates that this symptom affects only 4 in 100 people with small cell lung cancer, and 3 in 10 people with non-small cell lung cancer.
In addition, an expert pulmonologist replied regarding the reliability of this screening method. “Two-thirds of cancer patients have absolutely no signs of this. I would even invite people who would take the test and have the sign to reassure themselves: it proves nothing, “he said. Therefore, the doctor calls for caution. “The danger would be that they overlook other symptoms because they do not have digital hippocratism,” he adds. In this sense, he recommends that anyone who has the common symptoms of lung cancer consult a health specialist.
Ways to prevent lung cancer
We will never stop repeating it: prevention is better than cure. To reduce the risk of suffering from lung cancer, it is wise to put in place certain means of prevention.
Smoking is the cause of more than 80% of lung cancer. Therefore, it is considered that a smoker is 10 times more likely to develop this cancer than a non-smoker. Therefore, quitting smoking is the best way to prevent lung cancer. Knowing that passive smoking also increases the risk of suffering from the disease.
Limit exposure to carcinogens
Some people have jobs that force them to expose themselves to carcinogens. Asbestos, coal tar, soot from burning coal or aflatoxins are all toxic substances that attack the respiratory tract.
Have a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle depends on three key factors: weight, physical activity and diet. To limit the risk of cancer, you must:
– Monitor your weight and make sure you are up to standard.
– Eat more fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants
– Do physical activity 2-3 times a week