It is estimated that 233,000 men in the US alone will be diagnosed as having prostate cancer this year. Although there are numerous screening methods designed specifically to detect prostate cancer, they are not always accurate.
However, now scientists propose to use the unique abilities of human's best friend to create a new screening method. A new study by Italian scientists presented at the 109th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Society in Orlando found that specially trained dogs were able to detect prostate cancer by sniffing urine samples with 98% accuracy.
dog sniffing cancer
Humans have approximately five million olfactory cells in the nose, while dogs have at least two hundred million. Scientists also looked into the possibility of using dogs to identify low or high blood sugar levels by smelling the sweat or breath of a diabetic patient.
Now, the researchers wanted to see if dogs' sense of smell could also be used to detect cancers, such as ovarian cancer by smelling tissue and blood samples, or bladder cancer. The authors of the latest study note that in 2010, one experiment demonstrated the ability of specially trained dogs to recognize the smell of specific substances in urine samples from patients with prostate cancer.
However, only 33 patients were involved. In the latest experiment, the researchers used two dogs and checked 677 volunteer urine samples, of which 320 had prostate cancer with a low risk of metastasis and 357 were controlled healthy participants. It was found that dogs could detect specific substances characteristic of prostate cancer in urine samples with an accuracy of 98%.