Dogs can sniff out cancer better than some lab tests

December 14, 2015
Selina Chong  Sunny Hills High School  10th grade

By Selina Chong
Sunny Hills High School
10th grade

Dogs are known to be a man’s best friend, and ever since my family bought Minnie, a toy poodle, I have experienced an irreplaceable love and friendship, which I cannot imagine living without today.

Recently, it has been discovered that dogs not only provide us with love and companionship, but also can detect some things that even our latest technology cannot.

Not so long ago, Lucy, a cross between a Labrador Retriever and an Irish Water Spaniel, was an ordinary dog that attended guide dog school. Lucy’s owner realized that Lucy was able to catch random scents and later even proved that dogs are capable of detecting cancer. For seven years, Lucy learned to sniff out bladder, kidney, and prostate cancer. Later, she sniffed out cancer correctly more than 95% of the time, which is better than some lab tests used to diagnose cancer.

Today, Lucy is part of one of the largest clinical trials of cancer detection. Besides Lucy, there are eight other dogs that sniff out 3,000 urine samples from National Health Service patients to see whether they can recognize cancer patients.

Another instance is when Daisy, a fox red Labrador, found out that her owner, Claire Guest, had breast cancer six years ago. The tumor was found to be very deep in her breast, and by the time Guest felt it herself, the cancer would have been much worse.

These recent discoveries show how much of an impact dogs have on human society. Besides giving love and care to numerous families, they can sniff out cancer, a skill that goes beyond the latest technology.

In Claire Guest’s case, her dog prevented further advancement of her cancer, which expanded her life span. With dogs being able to provide companionship and recognizing cancer more accurately than technology, who knows what else they can do to help our society.



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