Company developing chewing gum to detect cancer

(WSVN) - Detecting cancer could soon be as simple as chewing a piece of gum.

Volatile Analysis, an Alabama-based company, is developing the gum that would determine if a person has cancer by aborbing “volatiles” in a person’s saliva, Fox News reports. The chewed gum would then be analyzed for certain chemicals produced by the body that are present when a person has cancer.

The body produces volatile organic compounds that are unique to each type of cancer, the company says. By examining the compounds in the chewed gum, doctors would be able to discern which type of cancer the person has.

Katherine Bazemore, president and CEO of Volatile Analysis, says chewing gum makes for an ideal testing mechanism because it would remain in the patient’s mouth for an extended period of time and would be durable enough to withstand testing.

This isn’t the first time scientists have attempted to detect cancer by methods other than blood tests or urine analysis. Previous methods have attempted to use breath samples and even dogs that could potentially smell cancer in a patient.

“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 to Fox News. “None of these efforts are proven to detect cancer early.”

Volatile Analysis says the gum is still in the testing stage, but hopes to make it available to doctors and patients by 2018.

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