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    Dogs Sniffing Out Disease

    Articlepet advice guidesTuesday 27 November 2012
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    We know that in today's world, where cancer diseases are considered leading killers, early detection can be life-saving.

    A new study has shown that dogs can detect cancer early on...

    The researchers say that having an exceptional nose, dogs are able to distinguish between healthy people and those who have early or advanced lung or breast cancer. Other studies have also shown that dogs are able to identify certain chemicals, even being diluted millions of times. The first clinical use of animals’ scent got in the limelight when a dog warned his owner of his skin cancer by constantly sniffing the area. It has also been repeatedly demonstrated that the trained dogs can also detect both melanoma and bladder cancer.
     

    An experiment with scent sample taken from sick people

    The new research led by Michael McCulloch and Tadeusz Jezierski examined whether dogs are able to smell potentially harmful changes from those patients’ breath who suffer from cancer. Five dogs were trained to detect lung and breast cancer so that scent samples were taken from patients who have cancer. 55 lung and 31 breast cancer subjects were included in the experiment and they had not undergone chemotherapy yet. In addition, 83 healthy subjects were enrolled. The dogs were given a breath sample taken in a special tube from the human participants.

    The dogs recognised who was sick

    Dogs trained to detect patients suffering from cancer, were sitting or lying directly in front of the test store containing cancer samples, ignoring healthy samples. The results showed that they could detect breast and lung cancer susceptibility with a sensitivity and specificity of 88-97 percent. In addition, the study also confirmed that the trained dogs can smell both diseases in their early stages. In the researchers’ opinion, further work might reduce the uncertainties of cancer diagnostic procedures.
     

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