CAN DOGS SMELL CANCER?
Breakthroughs in medicine happen so often that many people have become immune to it. Furthermore, research is often conducted on mice, and optimistic statements are also made too often, but one report has intrigued me with its unusual nature.
It talks about dogs who can smell cancer. Residents of Kaneyama in Japan (population of 6000) have a fairly high rate of stomach cancer, and they participated in an experiment. I myself did not participate, so I cannot vouch for the results, but it did appear in a couple of solid publications.
Frozen urine samples from both sick and healthy people were sent to the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo. Trained dogs, according to the description, smelled the presence of cancer 100% of the time.
This data, even if it’s correct only 80% of the time, is impressive. However, the methodology was criticized. And do you know why? The reason is rather unexpected. A large-scale oncological check is supposed to be quick, frequent, and inexpensive, but training a dog “for cancer” costs $45,000.
Furthermore, training does not guarantee a 100% result. Dogs are also living creatures, influenced by the environment just like us.
Nevertheless, the data is interesting, and we already have a program called CancerDogs where they check on firefighters by the odor of all types (firefighters have a rate of cancer higher than average). The same program was created in the UK, and the first study has shown that the dogs can detect prostate cancer in urine 93% of the time.
In the opinion of one expert, dogs are more reliable than other tests. They are able to smell in parts per trillion, which is the equivalent to a drop of blood in two swimming pools.
There’s also evidence that the dogs of diabetics are able to smell their owner’s low blood sugar, and specially trained dogs can help epileptics in the case of an attack.
PS – So far, no dog has been learned to detect glaucoma or cataracts.
Joke of the Week
At a restaurant in Odessa:
“Waiter, my cup has a crack!”
“Well, our coffee is very strong!”