Training dogs to detect ovarian cancer

Published on December 4, 2012

Updated on February 13, 2018

Woman’s best friend could also save her life. Researchers at the Pine Street Foundation in California are teaching rescue dogs how to sniff out ovarian cancer through a person’s breath. Using cloths that both a control group of healthy people and ovarian cancer patients have breathed on, trainers teach dogs how to use their nose to identify the cloth samples that belong to the cancer patient. When the dog correctly detects the cancer they are given a reward. Previous studies have also shown dogs’ cancer-sniffing abilities to detect lung, bladder and colorectal cancers. In the lung cancer study, the dogs were able to accurately detect lung cancer in 71 percent of the cases. Researchers hope that the dog cancer detection method can someday become a less-invasive alternative to cancer screenings and blood tests.

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