Lung cancer is a not only one of the deadliest cancers, it is also known for being difficult to detect. Usually not found until the disease has reached the advanced stages, it is often diagnosed simply by chance.
Now researchers at a German hospital are saying they have discovered that “canines have the ability to sniff out lung cancer.” A group of specially trained dogs were given breath samples from 220 volunteers at Schillerhoehe Hospital in Germany.
The NY Daily News reports that the dogs detected almost 75 percent of the lung cancer cases, and were correct in indicating the absence of the cancer in 372 out of 400 cases, according to the study, which was published in the European Respiratory Journal. Specifically, the dogs detected minor changes in the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that people give off when they exhale.
While the results are somewhat surprising, I don’t debate the truth if it. Dogs can sniff out bombs, drugs, and guns, so why wouldn’t they be able to detect diseases? There have been so many accounts of dogs saving their family members from fires and alerting others when their owner has a heart attack or is in immediate danger. My guess is that dogs can pick up on an incredible amount of situations and circumstances; we might just not know how to communicate their findings.
Will this study make a huge impact on the detection of lung cancer? Who can say for sure? Researchers say this finding is a good step in the right direction of further detecting lung cancers.
Yet one thing is certain…besides being man’s (and woman’s) best friend, canines are wonderfully receptive and intuitive creatures. Even without hearing about this new study, I think that when we bring a dog into our families, it’s one of the greatest gifts and friends we can ever give our kids.
More on our beloved pets: Heartwarming Video of Man’s Best Friend Reuniting With Military Dad
Read Danielle’s blog Just Write Mom.