Dogs detect cancer in humans

Recently, in the news you may have heard of Oscar the Cat, who stays at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island. Oscar can predict a person’s death is near or eminent and pays a visit to that person’s bedside when the time gets nearer to death. How does he know this you ask?

The grim reaper cat is only 2 years old, and already is astounding medical researchers with his talented insight. In some nursing homes across the country they allow dogs and cats to visit the residents, since they offer cheer and smiles to those who are old and sick. It is believed that pets enhance the outlook on life of sick and older people. Oscar’s visit however, means more than we would want to know about when he walks into the room.

The Cancer diagnosis ability of dogs first appeared to be studied in 1989, and in early 2000 to 2001. It was then explored that dogs could detect bladder cancers, and melanomas as well, as lung and breast cancers.In the article in Saga Journals entitled “Diagnostic Accuracy of Canine Scent Detection in Early and Late Stage Lung and Breast Cancers” the study was conducted by The Pine Street Foundation, in San Anselmo, California.The group comprised of; Michael McCulloch, Tadeusz Jerzierski, Michael Broffman, and others did an Integrative Cancer Therapy study involving 83 patients, of which 55 were lung cancer, and 32 breast cancer patients.The study reported in Saga Journals involved 5 dogs, 3 Labrador Retrievers and 2 Portuguese Water dogs employed a reward based training method, where the dog’s sniffed and identified samples by sitting in front of the cancerous samples. The results are quoted from the Sage Publications, on the study, available at:

” Among lung cancer patients and controls, overall sensitivity of canine scent detection compared to biopsy-confirmed conventional diagnosis was 0.99 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.99, 1.00) and overall specificity 0.99 (95% CI, 0.96, 1.00). Among breast cancer patients and controls, sensitivity was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.75, 1.00) and specificity 0.98 (95% CI, 0.90, 0.99). Sensitivity and specificity were remarkably similar across all 4 stages of both diseases. Conclusion: Training was efficient and cancer identification was accurate; in a matter of weeks, ordinary household dogs with only basic behavioural “puppy training” were trained to accurately distinguish breath samples of lung and breast cancer patients from those of controls”.The dogs had a 95 percent accuracy compared to biopsy confirmed diagnosis of cancers. Also in breast cancer patients and controls, their sensitivity was 95 percent and for all 4 stages of both lung and breast cancer.

This indicates that even if a cancer is in stage 1, their accuracy was the same as if it was at a stage 4 cancer. The dogs were ordinary household pets that conceivably can detect the set of chemicals that cancer patients exhale and in some cases, even before a diagnosis is made, which has been confirmed by regular medical tests. Perhaps someone can study what those chemicals are made up of, since a dog can certainly accurately identified the presence of these chemicals.

A British journal reported that in their study in Britain, where the dog in one case, indicated a positive response to one particular sample, from a non-cancer patient or so they thought at the time. The researcher in the case was surprised that the dog identified a non-cancerous sample. That subject was tested again, and medical results came back that the person unknowingly had kidney and bladder cancer.

Presently, dogs continue to be studied for their uncanny ability to sniff cancer either lung or breast cancer, and a dog scan would be a lot less painful and invasive than having a mammogram. Do dogs possess more of an amazing ability in scenting, or have we known this for years, as they are used to track people lost in the woods, or on the hunt for escaped prisoners. These days they sniff out illegal drugs, and bombs at airports providing a vital service to protect us against attacks.

In England, dog owners train their pets to track the most expensive delicacy on earth -truffles. The areas in England are in the heartlands of Wiltshire and Hampshire. There is even a training school for dogs to be taught how to find truffles in the woods. Truffles are buried underground which are a little harder to find but worth the effort at up to $ 2,200.00 a pound for the more expensive white ones.. The breeds being used are; Spaniels, Labradors, Poodles, and a special breed of Italian truffle hounds called the Lagotto Romagnolo.

Dogs have the capacity to filter minute particles in their noses, and can determine different chemicals in the atmosphere or in a breath sample. The whole world out there to a dog is sifted, and translated through their nose, they can determine much information via this venue especially about their owners. Have you ever wondered why a dog sniffs at you when you first come home after being away all day? They are detecting where you have been, your mood, and can scent whom you have been with, especially if you patted another dog.

This makes Oscar’s ability not only astounding, but confirms that cat’s also possess an amazing an inexplicable ability to detect disease in humans. The very fact that Oscar can smell or somehow detect approaching death, also verifies that cats have a keen sense of smell detection. This has yet to be thoroughly documented, or studied and perhaps researchers should study more cats, rather than spending millions on diagnostic machinery.

Ongoing research and studies are being conducted in California, and England on different types of cancers, and predictably dogs will prove to be an amazing diagnostic tool in the arsenal to fight against cancer through early detection in the future.

Conceivably a dog can detect the same set of chemicals that cancer patients exhale while they are being diagnosed or even before a diagnosis is made and confirmed by regular medical tests. Dogs are greatly underestimated in their abilities as disease detectors, but we dog owners knew that all along, its just taking medical science longer to figure that out for themselves as the evidence is irrefutable.

Oscar the cat, has a complete accuracy rate so far of 25 out of 25, so he is batting 1,000. It brings a new meaning to the words “Cat Scan”. Oscar is so accurate that once he visit’s a room, the nurses call the immediate family! I wonder if Oscar gets a healthy treat now and then for his humanitarian efforts.