Sniffer Dogs to detect Lung Cancer?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 16, 2011

Sniffer dogs to detect lung cancerIn a groundbreaking research it has been established that specially trained sniffer dogs are capable of detecting lung cancer. Dogs have a keen sense of smell and this helps them identify early symptoms of lung cancer from the breath of people.


In order to arrive at a credible conclusion to the research, experts at the Schillerhoehe Hospital in Germany looked at the response of highly trained sniffer dogs in trying to detect patients with lung cancer. For the study, 220 volunteers were chosen including those with lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and other healthy people. When the sniffer dogs were exposed to the breath emanating from the volunteers it was found that the dogs could successfully sniff out 71 cases of lung cases out of the possible 100 and also detect 372 samples which did not have lung cancer out of the 400 possibilities. Moreover, the dogs could differentiate lung cancer cases based on whether it was caused from COPD or tobacco. Therefore, the experiment was also able to find out that there is a significant marker that differentiates lung cancer caused by tobacco from COPD.


The technique that has been used in this experiment is the detection of volatile organic compounds that are a sure indicator of cancer. Prior to this experiment this method was not possible as patients are not allowed to smoke or eat before a lung cancer detection test. This made early detection of the deadly disease a difficulty. However, now that it has been established that sniffer dogs can in fact detect cancer successfully, it is being touted as a positive step in the treatment of lung cancer.



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