Forget Bombs, Dogs Can Now Smell Cancer

A new study showed that the dogs can determine cancer 98 percent of the time.

World-renowned dog trainer Cesar Milan may have to up his game. Labrador retrievers in Japan have been trained to sniff out early signs of cancer.

Mercopress reports today:

This study shows that a specific cancer scent does indeed exist and that cancer-specific chemical compounds may be circulating throughout the body” researcher Hideto Sonoda, of Fukuoka Dental College Hospital in Fukuoka, Japan, and colleagues write in Gut.


The study showed a Labrador retriever trained in scent detection was able to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous stool and breath samples in 98% and 95% of cases, respectively.


But The Boston Globe today explains that although their amazing sense of smell allows dogs to identify chemicals that are diluted as low as a few parts per trillion:

There’s also the matter of training the dogs. “It may be difficult to introduce canine scent judgment into clinical practice,’’ write the study authors, led by Dr. Hideto Sonoda of Kyushu University at Fukuoka, “owing to the expense and time required for the dog trainer and for dog education.


Image: Ella the Snow Dog, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from laserstars's photostream