Remember when the Pentagon spent $19 billion to find the best possible bomb detector only to find out it was a dog? The same could be true for cancer diagnosis. After pouring countless dollars into high-tech diagnostic tools, dogs have exhibited a unique talent for accurately sniffing out biomarkers for a variety of cancers (bladder, lung, and breast cancers among them), and Japanese researchers are now reporting that their black labrador has added bowel cancer to that list.
According to findings published in the aptly-named journal Gut, an eight-year-old female lab carried out 74 sniff tests over the course of several months, with each test comprised of five breath or stool samples. One of each five was from a cancerous subject, while the rest were from subjects who were cancer free or who had had cancer previously. The researchers even tried to fool the dog by including samples from subjects with non-cancerous bowel or gut conditions.
But the numbers—and the nose, it would seem—don't lie; the dog nailed the breath tests with 95 percent accuracy and the stool sniffs with a stunning 98 percent accuracy, making her just as effective as the best high-tech tools clinicians use today, including invasive colonoscopies. Moreover, she excelled particularly in diagnosing samples from subjects with early stage cancers.
That's huge considering early detection is quite literally the difference between life and death for most cancer patients—a surgery can cure 90 percent of early stage bowel cancers, but recovery rates drop precipitously as the disease advances.
Of course, training cancer-sniffing dogs is costly, difficult, and inconsistent from dog to dog. But these findings offer hope that an electronic nose capable of accurately diagnosing bowel cancers early is within technological reach. As for the dog, well, we're assuming her .980 sniffing average earned her a treat.
That lab can sniff my ass anytime! Free medical care!
So soon we will have sniff toilets that let us know when we're sick? Or perhaps sniffing tooth brushed?
Actually, It's like that movie Idiocracy. That movie just keeps getting it creepily right.
it will be only a matter of time until we make electronic devices that are as good as a dogs nose. We will now spend the next ten years dissecting hundreds of dogs noses and brains to see how to replicate their gift.
they may work great, but no hospital is going to have a dozen dogs on hand to sniff every patient that walk in the door. and airports and such would probably love to have a bomb detection device that isn't so obvious. if you can see it. you can see it to avoid it!!!!
I fail to see the difference between cancer free patients and subjects with non-cancerous bowl and gut conditions, as noted in the article.
" One of each five was from a cancerous subject, while the rest were from subjects who were cancer free or who had had cancer previously. The researchers even tried to fool the dog by including samples from subjects with non-cancerous bowel or gut conditions."
Aren't they the same thing? Even so, as in ALL scientific experiments, controls should be added regardless. The last sentence just seems redundant.
Diseases are rarely if ever complete wiped from the body. They're checking to see if a previously infected patient will give a false positive. Anti bodies, protien markers, any of those could've set it off assuming they're not real sure what the dog is detecting with its nose.
Ah, so you mean cross contamination in a sort? Like patients didn't have cancer but may have had other GI diseases. So test if the dog is specific for bowel cancer and not Crohn's disease or something similar. Thanks for the clarification.
Wow, we have dog scan. The Far-side cartoon has become a reality. Instead of a cat, wave a dog over a patient.
I have seen stories of other animals that could tell when nursing home patients were dying, etc. I believe that if we analyzed patients that have known illnesses with gas chromatography we could create profiles to compare to readings from undiagnosed patients to assist in such diagnoses.
I don't think having a dog be able to sniff out cancer is really useful. You can't just have the poor dog walk around sniffing people's stool who could have cancer. That's not very nice to the poor dog. But I see how it's a lot cheaper.
My dog Godard can sniff out anything with 100% accuracy!
As with most cancers, prognosis is determined by the stage at which the disease is diagnosed, the later the stage at which the disease is diagnosed, the lower the survival rate. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute gives these overall survival rates for colon cancer in the US: 93% at stage 1, 85% at stage 2A, 72% at stage 2B, 83% at stage 3A, 64% at stage 3B, 44% at stage 3C and 8% at stage 4.
Colon cancer survival rates also vary depending on where the tumor is located. If the cancerous growth is
located in the ascending colon, the 5 year survival rate is 63%, for the transverse colon it is 59% and for
the descending colon it is 66%.
<a href="http://www.bowelcancersymptoms.org.uk">bowel cancer symptoms</a>