US company's chewing gum can detect cancer in body

12 April 2017

A chewing gum is being development by a company in Alabama, US, that has been designed to determine whether a person had cancer.

According to the company, Volatile Analysis, the gum absorbs certain substances called ''volatiles'' in a person's saliva as they chew it. The chewed gum is then analysed to determine whether it contained certain chemicals produced in the body when a person had cancer.

According to Katherine Bazemore, president and CEO of Volatile Analysis, chemicals produced in the body called volatile organic compounds, were unique to each type of cancer. By determining which of the compounds were found in the gum, doctors could tell which type of cancer was present in the patient.

According to Bazemore, the reason for using chewing gum was it remained in the mouth over an extended period of time and was durable enough to withstand testing.

With the use of the gum, patients were not required to go through blood tests or urine analysis.

According to The National Cancer Institute there were an estimated 1.5 million new cancer cases diagnosed in 2016. 

''Over the last 15 years there have been a lot of attempts with different products and processes for early detection of cancer,'' Dr Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said.

Early detection in cancer was paramount to survival and breath samples, urine tests and cancer-detecting dogs had not proved effective enough. However, gum was durable and could hold up to testing.

The gum, would taste like candy, was still in the development stage, and the company hoped to offer it to doctors and patients next year.

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