A Dog Can Diagnose a Cancer by Its Smell

The Mirror (London, England), May 18, 2018 | Go to article overview

A Dog Can Diagnose a Cancer by Its Smell


Byline: MIRIAM STOPPARD

Dogs are turning out to be an even better friend to man than we could have imagined. They can spot cancer early, even before symptoms appear, through their magnificently sensitive noses. Yes, pretty amazing.

Now, for the first time, a proper investigation is being set up by doctors Clare Guest and John Church, of the charity Medical Detection Dogs, to investigate this canine skill and its use in prostate cancer detection.

Shockingly, prostate cancer now kills more people than breast cancer and the disease's UK mortality rates have increased by 21% since the early 1970s. Experts say medical detection dogs can identify the "smell" of the disease. This could spare many men the need to undergo unnecessary invasive tests.

Dogs' sense of smell is 40 times more powerful than ours and can detect odours at a concentration of one part per trillion. This means they can pick up the scent of different diseases at the earliest stage. The charity's 31 dogs are being trained to detect diseases that range from malaria to Parkinson's, but prostate cancer is their main focus.

Since 2015, Medical Detection Dogs has been working on prostate cancer detection with Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Trust.

"We hope within a couple of years it will confirm previous studies we have conducted that suggest dogs have a 93% success rate," says Dr Guest. …

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