Study: Dogs experts at detecting lung cancer

Study shows dogs appear to be experts at detecting lung cancer. (Shutterstock)

As reported by the AFP, dogs are amazingly adept at detecting lung cancer using their powerful noses, suggests a pilot project recently published in Austria.  This discovery potentially offers hope for earlier, life-saving diagnosis of this frightening disease.

“Dogs have no problem identifying tumor patients,” said Peter Errhalt, head of the pulmonology department at Krems hospital in northern Austria, one of the authors of the study.

The test saw dogs achieve a 70-percent success rate identifying cancer from 120 breath samples, a result so “encouraging” that a two-year study 10 times larger will now take place, Errhalt said.

The results echo anecdotal evidence of curious canine behavior when around cancer sufferers and are backed up by the results of similar small studies, including one by German scientists in 2011.

The ultimate aim is not, however, to have canines stationed in hospitals, but for scientists to identify what scents the dogs are detecting, explained Michael Mueller from the Otto Wagner Hospital in Vienna, who collaborated on the pilot project.

This in turn could help scientists reproduce in the long term a kind of “electronic nose” — minus the wagging tail — that could help diagnose lung cancer in the early stages, thereby dramatically improving survival rates, Mueller said.

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Posted by on December 6, 2012. Filed under CRITTER TALK. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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One Response to Study: Dogs experts at detecting lung cancer

  1. Carol Maietta views

    December 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Amazing story. I know my dog knows when I am even just a tad bit under the weather.