These days, it is no longer new to hear that dogs are able to detect disease in humans. Past news even stated that an owner’s dog detected diabetes through smelling his feet.
A recent study was conducted to see whether dogs’ sense of smell is able to detect the presence of colorectal cancer.
In this study, an 8-year-old female Labrador was used to smell stool samples from patients who were healthy and from those who had cancer. The goal of the study was to determine if a dog could detect cancer by simply smelling cancerous cells. The results showed that the dog had, with a small margin of error, accurately recognized the healthy samples from those who had cancer.
A dog’s sense of smell has been of use to humans for years now. They are the best animals for search and rescue operations and for detecting explosives. Through this study, it would show once again that perhaps in the future, doctors could depend on this sense to predict and recognize the presence of cancer in the body.
Further studies should still be conducted as this study focused only on colorectal cancer.
This study also carries the implication that perhaps different cancers have different scents, which may also be detectable via the use of ‘sniffing dogs’.