Can Dogs Detect Cancer In Humans?

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Can Dogs Detect Cancer In Humans?
Can Dogs Detect Cancer In Humans?

Video: Can Dogs Detect Cancer In Humans?

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Can dogs detect cancer in humans?

As you know, dogs have a much better sense of smell than humans. They have long been used in the detection of explosives and drugs. There is reason to believe that dogs can recognize malignant tumors by smell, but today there is not a sufficient scientific basis for this.

Can dogs detect cancer in humans?
Can dogs detect cancer in humans?

Sierra. Photo: Facebook /

As you know, dogs have a much better sense of smell than humans. They have long been used in the detection of explosives and drugs. There is reason to believe that dogs can recognize malignant tumors by smell, but today there is not a sufficient scientific basis for this.

Recently, the media reported that a Siberian Husky dog ​​named Sierra helped its owner, 52-year-old American Stephanie Herfel, to detect ovarian cancer. According to the woman, this is the third such case.

The first time this happened was in 2013. Sierra, who came to her in 2011 at the age of 9 months, sniffed her belly and showed signs of anxiety, then hid in a corner of the toilet.

“She put her nose on my lower abdomen and sniffed so hard that it seemed to me that I had spilled something on my clothes. Then the dog began to sniff this place a second and third time. After the third time, Sierra ran away and hid!”Says the owner of the dog.

Stephanie visited a doctor and was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Since then, the cancer has recurred twice, and Sierra has shown signs of anxiety each time, forcing her owner to undergo a diagnosis. The dog reacted in a similar way to the owner's friend, who was then also diagnosed with cancer.

The first report of this ability in dogs was published back in 1989, when a dog became uneasy after sniffing at an affected area of ​​a woman's thigh. After a medical examination, the woman was diagnosed with melanoma.

Cancer cells are supposed to have a certain odor, but it is weak enough for the human nose to smell. Over the years, there have been various experiments in which biological samples were placed in front of dogs to test if they could pick a malignant sample.

While encouraging results have been obtained in the laboratory, problems do arise when dogs are tested for their ability to smell cancer in real life situations.

When the dog sniffs and correctly identifies a sample containing cancer cells, the dog is rewarded with something to develop and reinforce the desired skill. However, in the real world, it is impossible to immediately know if a dog has correctly identified cancer in a patient. Dr. Klaus Hackner, who has studied canine cancer detection at Krems University in Austria, told Popular Science about this.

Although there are known cases such as with the Sierra and her owner, but dogs are not machines, they can make mistakes, and this does not allow them to be used to detect cancer. A dog can skip a really cancer patient and "detect" cancer in a healthy person.

For example, in a 2012 review on the topic, Dr. Peter Lipson wrote: “I have no doubt about the social and emotional value of dogs as companions and active helpers. But, besides this, I would like proof."

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