Dogs maybe used to screen women for cancer
Published 16/08/2014 | 02:30
Dogs could be used to screen women for breast cancer, after scientists were given permission to investigate whether the animals can accurately detect the disease by sniffing a patient's breath.
The animals have been found to be highly accurate in detecting several other types of cancer. Some can identify prostate cancer from urine samples.
A charity is now embarking on a trial to establish if dogs can accurately detect breast cancer from breath.
The researchers believe that if the technique is proven to work, it could "revolutionise" how doctors think about the diagnosis of all cancers.
Six dogs from the Medical Detection Dogs charity in Buckinghamshire will be trained to sniff for breast cancer in breath. The best four will used to test samples from 1,500 women.
If the technique is found to be accurate, it could result in women at a high risk of breast cancer being screened simply by breathing into a tube, which would then be sniffed by a specially-trained dog.
Earlier studies have already suggested dogs can detect bowel and lung cancer in breath samples. Dr Claire Guest, a behavioural psychologist and founder of the Medical Detection Dogs charity, said her dog Daisy alerted her to her own breast cancer when they were working on the prostate cancer trial.
Daisy, a fox red labrador, persisted in jumping at Dr Guest's chest and after medical tests a deep-seated early tumour was found. (© Daily Telegraph)