This is pretty amazing. I was completely unaware that dogs could detect cancer.
…And tumors, you may be surprised to learn, have their own very faint smells. To figure out how to diagnose internal cancers that are frequently overlooked until too late from just a breath sample, scientists have been working with dogs to see if these smells can be reliably differentiated from, say, the smell of breakfast, that last cigarette, or emphysema.
In previous studies, dogs have already shown their scent savvy in detecting established cases of ovarian cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, and lung cancer. In the latest study, which investigated how well dogs could make a diagnosis in the presence of other scents on a patient’s breath, canine breathalyzers not only smelled lung cancer even when a patient had recently eaten or smoked a cigarette, they also, importantly, didn’t mistake other scents, like those of emphysema or tobacco smoke, for cancer. This confirms the idea that lung cancer has a very specific scent of its own, and will galvanize researchers in their quest to identify exactly what the dogs are picking up on.