The keen sense of smell of a dog is capable of detecting breast and lung cancers in human beings, according to a new research. The research was conducted by the Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, and the Pine Street Foundation, California. The scientists involved in the research were Tadeusz Jezierski and Michael McCulloch. The cancer can be detected by dogs from the breath of the cancer patients.
As a part of the study, five household dogs were trained within a short 3-week period to detect lung or breast cancer by sniffing the breath of cancer participants. The trial itself was comprised of 86 cancer patients (55 with lung cancer and 31 with breast cancer) who had recently been diagnosed with cancer through biopsy-confirmed conventional methods such as a mammogram, or CAT scan and had not yet undergone any chemotherapy treatment, and a control sample of 83 healthy patients.
The results of the study showed that the dogs were able to detect breast and lung cancer with sensitivity and specificity between 88% and 97%. The high accuracy persisted even after results were adjusted to take into account whether the lung cancer patients were currently smokers.
The study also confirmed that the trained dogs could even detect the early stages of lung cancer, as well as early breast cancer.