Research conducted in Japan using a black Labrador retriever has shown that the dog can detect cancer by sniffing breath and stool samples. Previous research has suggested that certain dogs are able to use their sensitive sense of smell to identify chemical compounds that are specific to certain cancers.
The recent tests involved the dog sniffing five different samples, of which one was a bowel cancer patient with the other four being healthy people. During the breath tests the Labrador correctly identified the early stages of bowel cancer in 33 out of the 36 cases, demonstrating a 92 per cent success rate. During the stool sample tests the Labrador correctly identified bowel cancer in 37 out of the 38 cases, a 98 per cent success rate. This raises the possibility of identifying the chemicals that the dogs are detecting, which may assist with the cancer screening process.
Bowel cancer remains the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK.