Dogs really can smell cancer August 18, 2011Posted by Dreamhealer in Healing.
A new study adds to the body of research suggesting that “man’s best friend” may actually be able to smell cancer.
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, and that their keen sense of smell may be useful for the early detection of the disease.
Four family dogs – two German shepherds, one Australian shepherd and one Labrador retriever – smelled test tubes containing breath samples of 220 patients, both those with lung cancer and those without it. The dogs were trained to lie down in front of the test tubes where they smelled lung cancer and touch the vial with their noses. According to the study, the dogs successfully identified lung cancer in 71 out of 100 patients with the disease.
And that’s not all. Researchers also tested patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “COPD is quite common in patients with lung cancer and we were not sure if the dogs could tell the difference between both diseases,” explains Enole Boedeker, an author on the study who practices general thoracic surgery in Stuttgart, Germany. “The dogs could recognize the cancer sample as easily as between the breath samples of the healthy study participants,” Boedeker says. The study is published in the European Respiratory Journal.