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Canine Cancer Hounds

Is cancer screening literally going to the dogs? A black Labrador retriever was able to detect colorectal cancer (CRC) >90% of the time when sniffing a patient’s breath or stool sample, according to a study by Japanese researchers. The research, published in the gastroenterology and hepatology journal Gut, sought to determine whether odor could be used as an effective, noninvasive CRC screening tool. The study reported that the standard noninvasive CRC screening method, the fecal occult blood test, is accurate only 10% of the time; however, don’t expect to see dogs roaming oncologists’ offices any time soon. The expense and time commitment required to train the dogs would be too prohibitive.

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