The fact that dogs have a unique flair was always known, but the fact that these animals are able to detect the presence of cancer cells in an organism of its host, surprised even the researchers themselves.
Scientists have long suspected that the cancer may produce a specific odor, which is unavailable to the human nose, in contrast to the dog. However, more guesswork is not passed. Now, this fact was confirmed by the results of research conducted in a British hospital, in Buckinghamshire.
As early as 1989 in the medical journal “The Lancet” has an article which tells about a woman turning to surgeons with a request to remove a birthmark from her feet. A woman complained that her dog is constantly trying to lick or bite it. The analysis showed that the mole was a mortal danger to women – it was melanoma – a form of skin cancer. Fortunately, the diagnosis was on time, and the owner “smart” dogs have been saved.
There are stories of such unusual behavior of the dog owners, who had been ill with cancer of internal organs.
Caroline Willis, together with colleagues from the hospital Amershama decided to test the hypothesis that a dog really capable of “diagnose” cancer.
Researchers have tried a group of dogs trained to determine the urine of patients with bladder cancer from healthy individuals.
The course lasted seven months. The experiment involved six dogs of various breeds. At the end of the seventh month the dogs were able to diagnose in 22 cases out of 54. This ratio represents 41% of success, that is many times more than an accidental coincidence (approximately 14%).
During the experiment, was an unusual story. All dogs unanimously pointed to the urine sample of a patient who had no bladder cancer. Doctors decided to examine it more carefully. And indeed, after further analysis, it turned out that the patient was sick with kidney cancer.
According to scientists, the best “diagnostician” showed a spaniel.
“Dogs can detect the smell of cancer, which is very difficult to catch all of today’s existing chemical methods”, – said scientist.
Researchers hope to create a chemical “map” of cancer which, in future, will be used to create special equipment for the diagnosis of the disease.
The work of scientists was published in the British medical journal.
The next stage in the work of scientists will study the ability of dogs in the diagnosis of other types of cancer, including skin cancer and testicular cancer.