Man’s Bestfriend: Cancer Sniffers


In today’s society where cancers are leading cause of death worldwide, early detection of the disease is highly desirable. In a new scientific study, researchers present astonishing new evidence that man’s best friend, the dog, may have the capacity to contribute to the process of early cancer detection.

Dog cancer detection is an approach to cancer screening that relies upon the olfactory ability of dogs to detect very low concentrations of the alkanes and aromatic compounds generated by tumors. The first reports of dogs possibly having the ability to sniff out cancer came in the late 1980s.

Cancer cells emit different metabolic waste products than normal cells. These cellular waste products form specific combinations of biochemical markers (gases) that are emitted as odors on cancer patients’ breath. The differences between these metabolic products are so great that they can be detected by a dog’s keen sense of smell, even in the early stages of disease.”

Lung cancer was the first to be tested, as it is done by breath samples and there’s a direct connection, so to speak. Dogs can detect it by breath at a ninety-nine percent rate. Breast cancer can be detected at a rate of eighty-eight percent. Japanese scientists trained a black Labrador Retriever, named Marine, that they say can sniff out colorectal cancer with up to 98 percent accuracy.

Their status as our best friends will certainly be even further cemented if current training and research allows our friends to become one of our best ways of detecting cancer in human patients before it has significantly progressed.

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