The future of cancer screenings may not be expensive, invasive tests, but simply in having dogs sniff a urine sample.
In a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a rescue dog name Frankie had a 90% success rate at distinguishing urine between people with thyroid cancer and those people without the disease.
In an effort to provide an alternative to invasive tests, researchers trained Frankie, a German Shepherd mix, to recognize the smell of cancerous human thyroid tissue. He had been trained to lie down when he smelled cancer, and to turn away when he did not.
In a 2011 study, researchers successfully trained dogs to detect lung cancer by sniffing patients’ breath. Notably, the dogs could detect cancer even when those patients had been smoking or had COPD, unlike current cancer screening tests. In 2014, a study showed that dogs had 98% accuracy at detecting prostate cancer from urine samples. Dogs are also being trained to detect ovarian cancer.
The rationale is simple: While humans have only 5 million scent receptors in their noses, dogs have about 200 million, giving them a sense of smell roughly a thousand times more sensitive!
Even though the use of dogs to detect cancer is a flourishing field of research, the future of cancer screenings is something to be euphoric and engrossed about!