CANCER patients are being prescribed chewing gum to help them recover from surgery. Doctors at a leading London hospital are advising bowel cancer patients to chew sugar-free gum after their operations, in order to get their digestive systems back to normal so they can get better faster. Studies have found that patients undergoing surgery likely to affect their bowel function were fit enough to go home as much as two days earlier than other patients if they chewed gum. Chewing gum has helped new mothers recovering from caesarean sections, as well as patients undergoing stomach surgery, who can suffer from painful cramps until digestion returns to normal, research has found. Now surgeons at University College London Hospital are asking patients booked for bowel cancer surgery to bring supplies of sugar-free gum with them, to be chewed three times a day, for an hour, after their operation. Consultant colorectal surgeon Alastair Windsor said the trial is part of a programme to find new ways to help patients recover from treatment. He said many patients undergoing many types of surgery likely to affect their digestive system could benefit from bringing gum to hospital - but advised them to ask their own doctor first. Windsor said: "One of the things that delays people recovering from surgery is that they get what is called an ileas - where the bowel goes to sleep. Telegraph