Did You Know That Dogs Could Save Your Life By Detecting Cancer?

2/12/2015

We know that dogs have a very acute sense of smell. Our canine companions have long been helping us sniff out things like drugs and bombs. But now they're helping us detect cancer. So your dog could save your life.

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Source: @NationalGeographicMedical Detection Dogs is a UK-based charity which trains specialist dogs to detect cancerous cells. There are currently eight dogs who have been trained to detect cancerous cells in people's urine samples.One of them is called Lucy, a cross between a Labrador retriever and an Irish water spaniel, she has been able to detect cancer correctly more than 95% of the time. That's better than some lab tests used to diagnose cancer.

Source: @CNN

Claire Guest is the CEO of Medical Detection Dogs, and she has seen first hand how the training works. Her Labrador, Daisy, caught her breast cancer six years ago when she was 45. Guest recalls:

She kept staring at me and lunging into my chest. It led me to find a lump.

 Had it not been for Daisy, Guest's prognosis would have been a lot worse. Her tumour was very deep and would have taken her way longer to spot it, her doctors said. 

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Source: @BBC

Dogs' noses have 300 million sensors, which is inordinately more than a human's 5 million.They alsohave a second smelling device in the backs of their noses that we don't have. And it's thatdouble smelling system which allows trained dogs to detect cancer's unique odours, called volatile organic compounds.

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Source: @BBCAt the moment, dogs are not going to be replacing blood tests and urine samples in detecting cancer, but they can work alongside them. The surgeon Dr. Sheryl Gabram commented:It needs more study and development, but it is definitely an area of research that is full of promise.

Featured image: @LibertyVoice

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