Dogs are believed to possess a “sixth sense” in detecting danger or an imminent event. Now, researchers at the Curie Institute in Paris, France, have found dogs, specifically German Shepherds, have the ability to sniff out breast cancer in women with 100 percent accuracy.
German Shepherds Thor and Nykios, with the help of canine specialist Jacky Experton, were able to accurately identify breast cancer within six months of reward-based training by sniffing a piece of clothing that patient worn close to a breast with tumor. The experiment was carried out on the assumption that breast cancer cells had a distinguishing smell which sensitive dog noses would pick up.
It opens up the possibility of a highly non-invasive, low cost means of spotting a possible cancer, particularly in places where mammograms are scarce and non-existent.
There’s often limited access to diagnostics in rural areas which people could possibly be diagnosed at an earlier stage to receive life-saving treatment, with the help of these dogs within a very specific work environment.
The next step of the researching team is a clinical trial with more patients and another two dogs.