British organization Medical Detection Dogs has eight dogs that smell cancer in their team as a part of a canine cancer detection clinical trial. This method requires the dogs to smell 3,000 samples of urine provided by patients from the National Health Service to detect if cancer is present.
The Cancer Detection Dogs are being trained to recognize cancer, and the Medical Alert Assistance Dogs are trained to assist people with difficult medical situations.
— NIHR CRN: TVSM (@NIHRCRN_tvsm) November 18, 2015
"We are a charity that works in partnership with researchers, NHS Trusts, and Universities. Our aim is to train specialist dogs to detect the odour of human disease," the organization says, according to the Medical Detection Dogs website.
The procedure entails the dogs to go around and sniff eight urine samples. One urine sample will be from a cancer patient, but the other seven are from patients that have the similar symptoms of someone who has cancer but don't have it, KCCI Des Moines noted.
Even the CEO of the organization, Claire Guest, had her dog, Daisy, recognize her cancer six years ago.
"She kept staring at me and lunging into my chest. It led me to find a lump," Guest said, according to CNN.
The cancerous tumor was found by doctors lodged undetected in her breast.
"Had it not been drawn to my attention by Daisy, I'm told my prognosis would have been very poor," she added.
It is commonly known that dogs have heightened olfactory senses, but what sets them apart from humans is having 300 million smell sensors, whereas humans only have 5 million. A dog is also equipped with a second nose located at the back of its physical nose, which is the Jacobson's Organ that heightens their smelling abilities more. The Jacobson's Organ, also known as the vomeronasal organ, allows dogs to perceive volatile organic compounds, which are emitted by cancer through someone's breath, urine, or even through the skin, the Inquisitr reported.
In previous research, four trained dogs were evaluated on whether they can identify bladder cancer by detecting volatile organic compounds present in the urine. One bladder cancer positive urine sample was placed among six controls, and one of the dogs correctly identified which sample was positive 73 percent of the time, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.