The Nose Knows: Can Dogs Be Trained to Sniff Out Cancer?

Scientists are working to harness dogs’ ability to sniff out cancer.
BY HEATHER MILLAR
PUBLISHED: APRIL 18, 2017
DINA ZAPHIRIS, founder
and CEO of the In Situ
Foundation — which trains
dogs to sniff out cancer
— poses with (from left)
Stewie, Linus and Leo.
Among them, the dogs have
the ability to detect breast,
lung, ovarian and
orolaryngeal cancers. - COURTESY DINA ZAPHIRIS
DINA ZAPHIRIS, founder and CEO of the In Situ Foundation — which trains dogs to sniff out cancer — poses with (from left) Stewie, Linus and Leo. Among them, the dogs have the ability to detect breast, lung, ovarian and orolaryngeal cancers. - COURTESY DINA ZAPHIRIS
When it comes to detecting cancer, our dogs appear to have much keener senses than we do.

Take the special-needs teacher in Kent, England, who in 2015 noticed that her German shepherd, Inca, had become unusually interested in smelling her breath. She went to the doctor for a check-up and found out she had lung cancer. Because of the dog, she believes, it was diagnosed early, at stage 1.

The same year, a 40-year-old Rochester, Minnesota, woman was studying for a university test when her golden retriever-St. Bernard mix started nosing at her left side and acting crazy. When she went to brush away the dog slobber, she felt a lump. She was later diagnosed with breast cancer.

Actress Shannen Doherty — famous for her roles in the TV show "Beverly Hills 90210" and the movie "Heathers" — reported a similar experience with her German shepherd Bowie; now, she’s undergoing treatment for breast cancer.



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