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What Do Dogs Do When They Smell Cancer?

What Do Dogs Do When They Smell Cancer?

what do dogs do when they smell cancer
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Dogs can perceive smells that a normal human can’t do. Their smell receptors are 10,000 times more accurate and powerful than humans. Moreover, something amazing has been observed, and it’s the ability of dogs to smell blood samples of people who have cancer. They do this with almost 97% accuracy. It allows people to use this less expensive and accurate cancer screening approach. With proper training, dogs can be used in the medical world, and they can help identify various diseases.

How Can Dogs Smell Cancer?

As mentioned earlier, dogs have extraordinary smelling sense, and they can detect different types of cancers in humans. Cancer is like many other diseases, and it leaves odor signatures and specific traces in a human body. Affected cancer cells release these odor signatures.

Dogs can detect these cancer signatures in humans depending on the cancer type:
·      Breath
·      Sweat
·      Urine
·      Skin
·      Feces

Dogs need proper and extensive training to detect these odor signatures. Dogs that help in detecting diseases are known as medical detection dogs. Dogs have the ability to detect very low concentration substances; that’s why they can detect cancer signs in blood, urine, skin and breathe of humans.

Which Type of Cancers a Dog Can Detect?

Cancer sniffing dogs have the ability to detect different types of cancers. Trained dogs can detect canine cancer and colorectal cancer by smelling signature odors from a person’s breath and stool with great accuracy. Moreover, their specialty is they can detect cancer in the early stages.

Moreover, dogs can detect lung cancer by smelling a person’s breathe. According to a study, dogs can distinguish persons with cancer and without cancer by smelling breath with great accuracy. They can detect prostate cancer by smelling the urine of a person. Moreover, they also have the ability to detect ovarian cancer by sniffing blood samples. Finally, trained dogs can help people in detecting breast cancer as well.

Is It a Good Idea to Use Dogs in Cancer Diagnosis?

Indeed, cancer detection ability of dogs is beneficial for humans. Yes, it’s a good idea to use dogs for cancer detection in humans. Cancer detection by using dogs is a noninvasive, inexpensive, and low-risk method. There are several advantages and the side effects of using medical detection dogs. Such dogs are mobile, can start work anytime, and can trace cancer out of different signature odors.

Moreover, trained dogs can be used in laboratories to detect cancer in tissue samples. No doubt, it’s a good idea and approach to use dogs for cancer detection. Research has shown its reliability and effectiveness in canine cancer detection.

What Is Required to Train Dogs for Cancer Detection in Humans?

Yes, dogs can detect cancer by using their amazing sensitive noses. In order to make dogs capable of cancer detection, extensive training and energy are required. It’s the hardest thing for dogs, so dogs will take time to learn and practice. Remember, when dogs are having a bad time, they might not be able to diagnose cancer.

How Dogs Sniff the Scent?

You might have heard that dogs have amazing smelling power, and they can smell explosives, drugs, and other materials, but how can they detect cancer? Everyone wants to know how they can detect cancer by sniffing scent samples?

In order to check their effectiveness and reliability, a study was made by testing five dogs. Three of them were Labradors, and two were Portuguese water dogs. These 5 dogs were trained for three weeks to detect lung and breast cancer. During training, they were provided with breathing samples only. 169 samples of healthy and cancer patients were mixed. In 169 samples, 86 people had cancer. Their breath samples were collected, and dogs were asked to check these samples one by one.

Whenever dogs find a cancerous sample, they sit next to that sample. They were rewarded for detecting the right sample. What was the outcome of that study? Could you believe they have detected all the samples with 100% accuracy? Cancer detection dogs are trained like other dogs for detecting explosives and drugs. Cancer detection isn’t like explosives, and dogs have to sniff out thousands of individual particles. Extensive training is required to help them detect cancer. You can train your own dog and test whether it can detect cancer or not.

How to Train Dogs to Detect Cancer?

Dogs can be trained to detect cancer by providing them cancer samples to sniff. After that, you can start removing some compounds from those samples. If dogs stop sniffing and responding, it means you have taken out those cancer components that contain cancer substances. Moreover, you can place these samples at different places at home and ask them to find that substance. If they can do this, it means they are going in the right direction. You need to do this for quite a long time, and they will be trained enough to detect any cancer type in humans by smelling odor signatures.

Even though it seems to be a good idea to train any dog to detect cancer in patients, but immense resources are required for their training. Moreover, you can’t say any test as a perfect test. Remember, each dog can’t produce the right results every time. They are doing some amazing things in detecting diseases. Their use in detecting cancer in humans is increasing day by day.


Indeed, dogs have incredible cancer detection ability. They can diagnose various cancer types by sniffing signature odors. For disease detection, they need extensive training and immense resources. Cancer detection by using dogs is the less expensive, simple, and invasive solution. Moreover, it has fewer side effects. Due to their amazing cancer detection ability, they could be a  part of the clinical practice.

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