These screening dogs have been able to correctly identify breast cancer with an 88% accuracy and lung cancer with an 99% accuracy. Using ordinary behavioral training, in just 3 short weeks, even your basic house-hold dog can be taught to detect cancer, adding unremarkable evidence to why a dog is a man's best friend!
Dogs must qualify as screeners before they can be credible for detecting cancer. The screening process requires that dogs correctly identify cancer samples 30 times in a row, they must be well behaved, and not easily distracted.
Dr. McCulloch, lead researcher at the Pine Street Foundation, says that the accuracy rates for their dogs detecting breast and lung cancers compares favorably to diagnostic methods like chest X-rays, CT scans, and mammography. He notes that he was taught, and rather encouraged, as a medical student, to use his sense of smell in detection and diagnosis, so it only makes sense that an animal more sensitive to smell, and better at it, would be able to detect diseases.
The Pine Street Foundation continues to research a dog's ability to screen for disease and hopes that the information gained from his study will aid those currently constructing sophisticated electronic noses to be used in similar diagnostic ways. It is Dr. McCulloch's hope, along with the many others in this ground breaking field of research, that one day we can use the sense of smell to detect tumors and other diseases early enough to treat them, and perhaps even prevent them.
*To Find Out More About The Pine Street Foundation And Their Research With Dogs On Cancer Screening, Please Visit: http://pinestreetfoundation.org/