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Can dogs detect cancer?

Like many people, you might have a dog for a pet. Whether you need a hunting buddy, home protection or a snuggly companion, a fur friend can be a wonderful addition to your family.

However, according to a recent study, a dog may be able to provide much more than companionship. While it is too soon to tell whether your dog could detect mesothelioma in its early stages, researchers continue exploring the possibilities of using canines in early cancer detection.

Three reasons why it is important for researchers to explore early detection options

You likely agree that a cancer diagnosis is among some of the worst news you could ever receive. However, the earlier your cancer is detected, the better your chances of survival are.

In some cases, the screening technology that is currently available can result in false results. And since a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than a human’s, at minimum, canines trained to identify biomarkers associated with mesothelioma may help you seek treatment before your cancer metastasizes.

Researching dogs’ ability to sniff out cancerous cells could be helpful for various reasons, which include:

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death, internationally
  • Symptoms often do not appear until cancer has progressed
  • Technology is not accessible everywhere, and it can present additional health risks

Reports suggest trainers could teach dogs to detect "various types of lung cancer."

Ultimately, your dog may not be able to differentiate between healthy and cancerous blood. And even if your pup could, you may not understand their concern or changed behavioral pattern.

However, you may find encouragement in knowing researchers continue looking for early detection options for those who experience exposure to asbestos.

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