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Scent-trained dogs sniff out thyroid cancer

Scent-trained dogs sniff out thyroid cancer

Scent-trained dogs sniff out thyroid cancer

Can dog smell cancer in your urine samples? If doctors are to be believed, especially trained canines can do it right in as much as 82 percent cases. Researchers behind the new updates suggest that the detection rate is almost as good as the best needles that are used to test the cancer.

Researchers have trained a German Shepherd mix named Frankie to do this work till date, though they have used it merely for test purpose and have not used it to test in labs. But the way things are looking promising, it is not far-fetched to imagine canines being deployed in the labs to do this task.

The researchers behind this feat belong to the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Dr. Donald Bodenner while talking about the development says, “scent-trained canines could be used by physicians to detect the presence of thyroid cancer at an early stage and to avoid surgery when unwarranted”.

dallas cancer walkExperts seem to be very excited with the findings of the study. Dr. Maria Pena, an endocrinologist at North Shore-LIJ’s Syosset Hospital in Syosset, N.Y says, “Currently, if a suspicious thyroid nodule is detected on ultrasound, a fine-needle biopsy is done to analyze the cells and determine if a malignancy is present”. Nonetheless she went on to add that “sampling error” means that accuracy from this technique is never 100 percent, and often lab tests turn up ambiguous results.

However, dogs have evolved a very highly sensitive sense of smell, and the Arkansas team wondered if Frankie could be trained to spot the chemical signs of thyroid cancer in urine, just as canines have long been used to sniff out hidden, illicit drugs.

Researchers claim that during the course of tests the canine was ordered to smell — and react to — urine samples from 34 different patients. According to Bodenner’s team, the dog correctly found cancer in 30 out of the 34 samples. “Scent-trained canines could be used by physicians to detect the presence of thyroid cancer at an early stage and to avoid surgery when unwarranted”.

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