Saliva may hold key to diagnosing pancreatic cancer

October 14, 2011 4:44:15 AM PDT
Apple founder Steve Jobs' recent death from pancreatic cancer focused attention on one of the fastest-spreading and deadliest malignancies for which there are no obvious red flags or screening tests.

New research in the journal Gut suggests that saliva -- and the bacteria it contains -- may hold the key to an earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

According to the study, there are differences in the types and amount of certain bacterial strains in the saliva of people with pancreatic cancer.

Researchers are hoping the study will eventually lead to an early and easy screening test for the disease.