2Dogs can help doctors “smell” cancer? It may sound incredible, but in fact, this research has made great progress. Recently, the “Cancer Sniffing Dogs Project”, approved by the British NHS, has entered the testing phase. Milton Keynes University Hospital of Buckinghamshire also approved this research program proposed by a charity organization.

Cancer Screening Relies Completely on Sniffing?

Evidence: Volatile molecules in tumors will go into urine, which creates a special smell. 

“The evidence of this testing method is that volatile molecules in tumors will go into patients’ urine from cancerous cells, which give their urine a unique smell. Compared with traditional method for detecting cancer, urine sample is more easily to be collected and tested”, said Iqbal Ann, urologist of Milton Keynes University Hospital.

Milton Keynes University Hospital will carry on this project in the next three years. In this project, nine strictly trained dogs are going to identify urine samples from 3,000 patients, among which, there are six Labrador, two Springer Spaniel and one Hungarian Wirehaired.

According to the study protocol, the cancer detection “analysis” made by these dogs will be compared to that of the traditional testing method, so that they can verify the validity of this “non-traditional” screening approach.

You may consider what if only one dog cannot accurately sniff out cancer? According to the testing procedure, each sample will be detected by two to three dogs. If researchers can’t get the accurate results, the urine samples will be detected for the second time the next day.

Can This New Testing Method Takes Place of The Traditional One?

Researchers: It can be used as the “second line of defense” in current stage at least. Prostate-specific antigen test is clinically important for prostate cancer screening. This detection, however, has its own problem that it is of high false positive rate. If the result is false-positive, patients have to accept more examinations like biopsy, which may lead to bleeding, infection, urinary incontinence and other risks. All these are caused by inaccurate diagnosis.

In the next post, we are going to continue this amazing testing method.