Bad Breath

It’s awkward enough to tell someone that they have bad breath. What about telling them they have cancer?!

That’s what the future may have in store. By your breath, someone might be able to tell you that you have cancer.

VOCs stand for volatile organic compounds. They are mostly known as those smelly odors from fresh paint, a brand new carpet or mattress, even some common household items (like mothballs). New flooring installed with smelly glues or adhesives frequently off-gases VOCs. Due to potentially harmful effects of inhaled VOCs, many manufacturers produce “low VOC” versions of their products.

Well, apparently having certain types of cancer can cause people to exhale certain VOCs. We’re talking about very low levels, but with a highly sensitive instrument, they can be detected (like 2-butanone, nonanal, and 2-pentanone). So far most of the research has been done on lung cancer detection. It’s not ready for prime time, but they’re working on it. For a good recent review of the state of this technology, click here.

The technology is actually further along for colon cancer detection. But that involves analyzing VOCs in your you-know-what (farts and fumes from feces). Any volunteers?

It always amazes me, what God has enabled human beings to accomplish.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . .”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

-the Holy Bible, book of Genesis, chapter 1, part of verse 26 and all of verse 27

photo credit (bad breath): iStock by Getty Images

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