More Research Suggests Dogs Can Smell Cancer

The researchers carried out a number of tests to see if specially trained sniffer dogs were able to reliably identify lung cancer compared with healthy volunteers and volunteers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and whether the results were still found with the presence of tobacco.

Sniffer dogs could be used for the early detection of lung cancer, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal. Researchers in Germany found that dogs were able to pick up on the scent of organic compounds linked to the presence of lung cancer in the human body.

According to the study, lung cancer is not strongly associated with any symptoms and early detection is often by chance. Current methods of diagnosis are unreliable and scientists have been working on using exhaled breath samples from patients for future screening tests.

The researchers carried out a number of tests to see if specially trained sniffer dogs were able to reliably identify lung cancer compared with healthy volunteers and volunteers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and whether the results were still found with the presence of tobacco.

The dogs successfully identified 71 samples with lung cancer out of a possible 100. They also correctly detected 372 samples that did not have lung cancer out of a possible 400.

The dogs could also detect lung cancer independently from COPD and tobacco smoke. These results confirm the presence of a stable marker for lung cancer that is independent of COPD and also detectable in the presence of tobacco smoke, food odors, and drugs.

Researchers said sniffer dogs are a promising “detection device,” but more studies are needed to help identify the specific detectable markers in order to create screening methods.

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    September 2020

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