Dogs Can Sniff Out Lung Cancer; They Can Accurately Smell Early Presence of the Ailment by Sniffing the Patient’s Breath

Did you know your pet has something special about him? German researchers have found that dogs are the best diagnostic tools to detect lung cancer in patients. They have got the special smell sense to sniff out lung cancer. It was already established that dogs could detect the signs of other forms of cancer; but this is the first time that it has been discovered that the quadrupeds could accurately smell out the early presence of lung cancer by sniffing the patient’s breath.


The study further suggests that there are specific volatile organic compounds (VOC) associated with the presence of the disease.

Out of a group of 220 volunteers, who included healthy people, those with lung cancer and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the dogs correctly identified 71 positive lung cancer samples out of a possible 100.

An interesting revelation is that dogs could diagnose cancer even in the presence of other factors like tobacco smoke, which current lab test are unable to do.

VOCs are emitted from the surface of cells as they undergo tumor-induced gene and protein changes. Researchers at Schillerhoehe Hospital in Germany who worked with specially trained dogs write in European Respiratory Journal  that identifying the VOCs that certain cells make can go a long way toward early diagnosis, when a scan might not be able to detect anything.

Israeli researchers reported last year that their gold nanoparticle e-nose could differentiate among lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer by differentiating among the VOCs.

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