Italian researchers released findings from a study at the 109th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association that suggest dogs can sniff out prostate cancer with a high degree of accuracy.
Gianluigi Taverna of Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan and colleagues took urine from 320 men with prostate cancer and 357 without it. Those with cancer had all different stages of the disease, from very low-risk, slow-growing tumors to cancer that had spread.
Two trained dogs used in the study had a 98 percent detection rate in identifying the urine samples of those with prostate cancer.
The theory is that the heightened sense of smell in dogs, which have 200 million olfactory cells in their nose, are able to smell volatile compounds linked to prostate cancer. Results from the study could be particularly promising for those with this disease that kills 29,000 men in the United States each year.