On the Lighter Side. . .

image purchased at istock.com

We all know that Dogs are amazing creatures, not only are they man’s loyal best friend, they often aid us by performing jobs to help better society. Drugs, explosives, and blood, are just a few of the things dogs have been trained to sense. They have also proved successful in tracking other animals, missing persons and suspects to aid police. There is even evidence to suggest those powerful sniffers can aid in early detection of cancer!

Published studies have shown that dogs can detect early stage cancer with 88% specificity, and 99% sensitivity. You may have even seen some cases in the media where a woman’s pet alerted them to breast cancer growing within her.  There is no denying a dog’s extraordinary sense of smell. While we have around 5 million olfactory cells in our noses – receptors that detect different odors – dogs have approximately 200 million. It is dogs’ acute ability to trace scents that has made them so attractive to the medical world. More recently, those cuddly canines appeared in the news again for the detection of prostate cancer!

  • Italian researchers say they’ve trained two female German shepherd dogs to sniff out prostate cancer and the canines have greater than 90% accuracy.
  • The research team from the Humanitas Clinical and Research Center in Milan, Italy collected urine samples from 362 men diagnosed with prostate cancer at various stages of the disease. They also collected urine samples from 418 men and 122 women who were either healthy, had a different kind of cancer or who had a different health condition.
  • They then trained Zoe and Liu, three-year-old bomb detection dogs who worked with the Italian armed forces, to detect specific volatile organic compounds in urine associated with prostate cancer.
  • After the dogs were retrained, they were tested using batches of six urine samples from the men with prostate cancer, positioned at random among the non-prostate cancer urine samples.
  • (bulleted information from http://hometestingblog.testcountry.com/?p=28359)

This is an interesting development and we are excited to follow it and watch it develop. So remember, your dog isn’t just a wonderful companion in your life, he’s a hero that could save it!  For more information on dogs detecting cancer, please visit some of the resources below.