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Cancer detected by dogs with 98% accuracy

A study by the Department of Urology at Humanitas Clinical and Research Centre in Milan supports the prospect of dogs being used to sniff out cancer. It found German Shepherds were able to detect cancer with incredibly high levels of accuracy.

The study was carried out to assess the ability of dogs to identify urine samples that tested positive for Prostrate Cancer.

The study involved two German Shepherds sniffing the urine samples of 900 men, 360 of whom had prostate cancer and 540 who did not, with both dogs achieving an accuracy level of 98%. Currently the standard test for the presence of Prostate cancer a blood test known as PSA, as well as by a physical examination and by biopsy.

It is the latest of a series of studies that boosts the prospects that dogs can help doctors in the early detection of human cancers and other diseases.

Separately, in March of this year it was found that a scent-trained  part German Shepherd, was able to differentiate between benign thyroid disease and thyroid cancer by smelling a person’s urine, achieving an accuracy rate of 88%.

In addition, a UK charity called Medical Detection Dogs based in Milton Keynes, trains specialist canines to detect the odour of human disease.

The charity works in partnership with researchers, NHS Trusts and Universities to train specialist dogs to detect the odour of human disease.  They also train Medical Alert Assistance dogs to help people with life-threatening health conditions go about their daily lives.

The charity also announced last year that it was to carry out trials on whether dogs could detect breast cancer in women.  The procedure involves women breathing into a tube which is then sniffed by a specially trained dog.