Research suggests that dogs can detect many types of cancers in humans.
Like many other diseases, cancers leave specific traces, or odor signatures, in a person’s body and bodily secretions. Cancer cells, or healthy cells affected by cancer, produce and release these odor signatures.
Depending on the cancer type, dogs are able to detect these signatures in a person’s:
Dogs can detect these odor signatures and, with training, alert people to their presence. People refer to dogs that undergo training to detect certain diseases as medical detection dogs.
They detect some substances in very low concentrations, as low as parts per trillion, which makes their noses sensitive enough to detect cancer markers in a person’s breath, urine, and blood.
The fact that dogs can detect cancer has significant benefits for humans. Using dogs to detect and diagnose cancer is a low-risk, noninvasive method.
Medical detection dogs present few side effects and may offer advantages because they are mobile, can begin work quickly, and can trace an odor to its source.
They also have the potential for use in patient care settings or laboratories to identify cancer in tissue samples from people with suspected cancers.
Dogs’ abilities may also help with developing machines that can reliably detect odor signatures from cancer, such as electronic noses.
However, research is still underway and the effectiveness and reliability of canine cancer detection requires further research.
Explore more such interesting information by joining us at World Hematology 2019, this July at Rome, Italy