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Cancer-Detecting Dogs Highly Effective, Further Study Approved

Frankie, the dog who detects thyroid cancer by sniffing urine samples, has got some competition. Medical Detection Dogs, a health-based charity, has obtained the green light from the UK’s Milton Keynes University Hospital to conduct further studies on dogs that have been able to identify prostate tumors with 93 percent accuracy, besting Frankie’s rates.

The training director of Medical Detection Dogs, Dr. Claire Guest, was made aware of her own breast cancer in 2009 when her dog Daisy detected it. This event caused Guest to realize that a dog’s ability to determine that a human being has cancer could be life-changing for many people.

According to The Guardian, Guest claimed, “Our dogs have higher rates of reliability than most of the existing tests. We know their sense of smell is extraordinary. They can detect parts per trillion – that’s the equivalent of one drop of blood in two Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

Gary Steele, founder of the Prostate Cancer Support Group, also had positive reactions despite the furry bodies attached to this innovative cancer detection system, saying, “We should not miss this opportunity to save thousands of lives.” Steele expressed his hope that the use of cancer-detecting canines could still be improved.

We should not miss this opportunity to save thousands of lives.

Current blood tests for prostate cancer detection have high rates of false positives. Supporters of the dog-detecting approach feel that 93 percent in preliminary trials certainly warrants further study. RT reported that in Italy, a similar study yielded success rates of 98 percent.

Humans and canines have historically enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. Dogs worldwide have been used for therapeutic and security purposes, yet their application to medical diagnoses is something that has often gone unexplored.

The lack of certainty about the presence of cancer is something that can be emotionally and psychologically traumatizing for cancer-diagnosed patients and their families. The use of dogs shows a lot of early potential to assist medical experts in obtaining certainty about their patients’ conditions.

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