The smell of the dog used to detect breast cancer
We know that the dog's sense of smell is much more developed than that of humans . And perhaps it catches our attention when the dogs can detect things that we are not incapable of ... Even some can identify breast cancer!
Does the dog's nose detect cancer?
At the moment, we do not know very well how the dog's smell works, but what we are sure of is that it is developed in such a way that it can identify many more aromas than we do.
Cancer detection on the part of the dogs it is still less studied, but it is more than interesting from the medical point of view and at the same time curious. There are more and more cases of dogs that have been able to sniff this disease even in early stages. In this way, medical treatments can have better effects than in more advanced cases.
Now, what is it that specifically identifies the dog's sense of smell? Dogs can detect so-called volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are small particles produced by the tumor and spread through the body of a sick person.
In other words, cancer emanates chemical particles with an odor detectable by dogs . Not all cancers have the same VOC. To be able to identify it, the dogs smell biological samples of the patients, whether it is a blood, urine or faeces sample; some also do it through the breath.
Something that really catches the eye is that the dog's nose can identify, for example, breast cancer long before it appears on a mammogram or mammary ultrasound ; also before the routine analysis.
Is the dog's nose trained to detect cancer?
While there have been many cases of dogs that can identify cancer from their owners , the truth is that to achieve greater effectiveness the animal has to be trained . No matter what race you belong to (can be a German shepherd, labrador, poodle, greyhound, cocker spaniel, etc.), it must be taught at the youngest possible age.
So that the dog can ' smell cancer 'you first have to decide what kind of cancer you will be able to detect . Of course, because they are taught to a specific one, such as breast, bone, lung, etc. With only eight weeks of daily training, the animal can become an expert.
The more samples of the same person sniffs the animal, the easier it will be for him to give the accurate 'diagnosis'. In addition, it is necessary that the dog also smells other samples of people: that they smoke, that they drink alcohol, that they have other diseases, of different ages, of both sexes or completely healthy.
Once sniffs all samples and identifies the one that belongs to the person with cancer is given a prize. This is known as teaching or positive training (ie, not resorting to abuse to get results).
What are the benefits of dogs sniffing cancer?
We could say that the 'simple' fact that they can identify cancer in the first instance is enough to implement it in hospitals or clinics, but this canine training has other advantages or utilities:
1. It's fast, since the animal only needs to sniff samples of bodily fluids.
2. It is not invasive, because no biopsies or surgeries are required to analyze (in the first instance).
3. It's economical compared to other medical treatments, but that does not mean they should be replaced.
4.They have the ability to smell the cells produced by the tumors and eliminate them through urine, feces or sweat.