Dogs’ Paw-erful Sense Of Smell Can Detect Cancer

Dogs' Sense of Smell can detect cancer

Dogs won’t be known as the man’s best friend if they haven’t been helpful to humans in so many ways. German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are very reliable in crime scenes, fact-finding missions or rescue operations, tracking wanted criminals and finding explosives before they detonate, and so as its other kinds.

According to Bustle.com‘s JR Thorpe, owning a dog can be useful for one’s physical and mental health. They can boost a human’s oxytocin levels just by staring at their eyes; they can help with depression, increase their owner’s immune system, provide stress relief, and can maintain lower blood pressure.

Dogs are again making tons of positive impact on human lives; they can now smell illnesses in humans. Trained dogs can sniff diseases like cancer release microscopic chemical particles before they are seen in blood tests.

The research revealed that dogs could smell cancer in the blood. The study, executed at BioScentDx Lab, revealed an astonishing 96.7% precision among trained dogs. The result was presented during the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Four beagles were used to test whether a dog’s sense of smell can detect blood samples with cancer using blood from healthy and lung cancer patients. Three dogs were able to recognize cancerous blood samples 96.7% and 97.5 for healthy blood samples.

This research is interesting since it leads to two paths, which can both lead to modern cancer detection tools. First, canine scent detection can be used as a screening method for cancers. Second, the biologic compounds that the dogs detect can be recognized, and cancer screening tests can be created based on it.

The study can result in future cancer detection and turning the method into something that is more safer and less expensive, says lead researcher, Heather Junqueira. Based on their website, it only costs $50. Further, Junqueira highlighted the possibilities of dogs in assisting in detecting other illnesses aside from cancer faster.

Previous studies proved that dogs can sniff cancer even though it was still in its very early stages. Last 2017, a trained golden retriever and pit bull mix can recognize the existence of lung cancer via breath samples with an incredible precision rate. In 2013, trained dogs can detect breast cancer via blood samples with 97% precision. Lastly, in 2011, Marine – a black Labrador – was able to detect colon cancer with 97% accuracy.

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, there are various medical technologies used to detect cancer, but the method used depends on the type of disease and the patient needs.

Overall, there are four diagnostic evaluation categories, such as diagnostic imaging tests, diagnostic procedures, lab tests, and tumor markers. But, cancer diagnosis and treatment are known to be extremely expensive.

Recently, approved cancer drugs usually cost $10,000 monthly, and some therapies cost more than $30,000 per month.

This study can help people with less financial resources to gain access to a new cancer detection procedure, which is also non-invasive. Cancer diagnosis, at its earliest stages, provides the patient with the best chance for a cure.

A biopsy is the only definitive way to diagnose cancer. During the biopsy, a part of the tumor or lump is removed for the medical staff to evaluate whether it is malignant (cancerous) or benign (not harmful). But taking a biopsy includes risks such as bleeding or infection. If the taken lump is discovered to be malignant, cancer can spread faster.

Currently, Junquera and her team are testing if dogs can sniff cancer in breath condensate of breast cancer patients. When breast cancer research is conducted, some participants donated breath samples to be screened by the top cancer-sniffing dogs.

But, Junquera mentioned, that the dog cancer screenings are not supposed to take the place of doctor’s checkup or health examinations, also known as Mammograms – even though cancer currently has no cure. Prevention is always better than cure and is the best option that any patient can choose from to survive.

An early cancer diagnosis can save lives and can significantly cut treatment costs. An extremely delicate cancer detecting test has the potential to save thousands of people and can change the manner/process of cancer treatment.

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