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Dogs That Smell Cancer Get Clinical Trial in Britain

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By    |   Friday, 20 Nov 2015 03:04 PM

The skill of dogs that can smell cancer is being examined in a large clinical trial in Britain, in which experts are hoping to further research the uncanny ability of some trained canines to accurately detect the disease.

Lucy, a Lab and Irish water spaniel mix, has been trained to sniff out bladder, kidney, and prostate cancers, and, according to CNN, she has been accurate more than 95 percent of the time.

Lucy is part of the trial, being done by Medical Detection Dogs, a British charity that works to utilize the talents of dogs in medicine. Along with seven other dogs, Lucy will smell 3,000 urine samples provided by the country's National Health Service to look for cancer.

Claire Guest, Medical Detection Dogs CEO, told CNN that her dog was her first hint that she had breast cancer six years ago.

"She kept staring at me and lunging into my chest. It led me to find a lump," Guest said.

According to research published in the British Medical Journal, the idea that dogs could detect cancer first surfaced in a letter published in 1989, the result of a patient who went to the doctor because her dog wouldn't leave a skin lesion alone. It was determined to be malignant.

Dogs have 300 million sensors in their noses, compared to the 5 million humans have, CNN said. They also have a second way of smelling, using the Jacobson's organ in their nose, which people don't have.

"Researchers in the current British study have set a particularly high bar. They want to make sure dogs are actually smelling cancer and not something else, such as old age or a particular set of symptoms," CNN wrote.

In the BMJ study, dogs were determined to be successful at detecting bladder cancer 41 percent of the time.

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The skill of dogs that can smell cancer is being examined in a large clinical trial in Britain, in which experts are hoping to further research the uncanny ability of some trained canines to accurately detect the disease.
dogs, smell, cancer, clinical, trial
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2015-04-20
Friday, 20 Nov 2015 03:04 PM
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