Tuesday, February 1, 2011

cancer screening doggie style!

The most important survival factor for cancer patients is early detection. The earlier we can find cancer the better. Most screening is time consuming and expensive. There is an attractive alternative, to use dogs to simply smell people for cancer, just like drug dogs at the airport. They can sniff you, your breath or what comes out of you backways.

I am suffering from migrains, which is caused by a sense of constant dizzyness and displacement. After five years of medical evaluation it turns out that I need a pair of glases. Why do I write this? Cause I know what it is to have a different experience of this world. Where a light is just a light to most people, to me it is a scream.

So I can relate to the idea of using dogs to screen for cancer. Their world is based on another level of experiencing and  in a world that is concentrated on experiencing smells. Their range of experiencing smells is so attuned they can sense the difference of small changes of organic molecules. What is invisible to some individuals is a scream to others.

The idea of using dogs to screen for cancer goes back several years. I also remembered Oprah Winfrey doing a show with the theme “angels in disguise”. It was of course tearproducing parade of beautiful stories where pets have sensed their owners coming seizures or heart attacks. The pets’ behaviour had then made the humans to make choices like not getting into the car or going out for a run, thus saving them from accidents.
Are these animals psycic? Well perhaps they are- but their world looks different. They sense mere shifts in organic molecules. It is invisible to us but strong differences to them like strong colors.

The guardian is reporting a Japanese study today, where dogs can regonize bowel cancer. They can sense it by smelling the breath or the feaces. Previous, dogs have also distinguished urine samples from people with prostate cancer from healthy individuals. We do not really know what they are sensing yet, but it will sure be the cheapest and most accessible way to have people screened for early detection. In the future, every doctor might have their own cancer sniffing dog? Or even several of them, one for cancer, one for diabetes and so on. I am not allergic so I would love that. People who are afraid of needles might welcome this as well.
I like this vision even if it is a bit far fetched.

Nurse at work sniffing away at the samples. This is what it might look like in the future. Maybe.The picture is borrowed from petside.com


  1. WOW! I read somewhere about a dog in an elderly home that always went to the person that was dying. The dog walked into the room about one hour before the person died and sat with them the whole time. This was also explained by the dogs ability to sense the smell of death... Though the ability so smell it doesn't really explain the dogs action I think. Love

  2. Oh yes it does tickle the imagination on how the dogs perceive information and the world. Perhaps our molecules are so similar to them, so in doggie-language our bodies are screaming "shit, something terrible is about to happen"? yet we are oblivious to them? Some people that are refered to as psycic might just be good at interpet these molecules on a subconcious level? Love to you to :)