Research Suggests Dogs May Be Able To Detect Melanoma, Other Cancers

The New York Times (9/11, Krisch) “Well” blog reports that over the past decade, “research has begun to accumulate suggesting that dogs may be able to smell the subtle chemical differences between healthy and cancerous tissue, including bladder cancer, melanoma and cancers of the lung, breast and prostate.” However, “scientists debate whether the research will result in useful medical applications.” Research presented earlier this year indicated “that two German shepherds trained at the Italian Ministry of Defense’s Military Veterinary Center in Grosseto were able to detect prostate cancer in urine with about 98 percent accuracy, far better than the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.” However, “in another recent study of prostate-cancer-sniffing dogs, British researchers reported that promising initial results did not hold up in rigorous double-blind follow-up trials.”

The article links to a 2004 study that provides additional detail into canine detection of melanoma.