On this very day when world observes ‘CANCER DAY’, there is a new hope coming up in the diagnosis of the deadly disease.
Dogs can sniff out bowel cancer in breath and stool samples, with a very high degree of accuracy – even in the early stages of the disease – according to new research published online.
As a result, authors suggest that chemical compounds for specific cancers circulate throughout the body, which opens up the prospect of developing tests to pick up the disease before it has had the chance to spread elsewhere.
A specially trained Labrador retriever completed 74 sniff tests, each comprising five breath (100 to 200 ml) or stool samples (50 ml) at a time, only one of which was cancerous, over a period of several months.The bowel cancer samples came from patients with varying stages of disease, including early stage.
The dog successfully identified which samples were cancerous, and which were not, in 33 out of 36 breath tests and in 37 out of 38 stool tests, with the highest detection rates among those samples taken from people with early stage disease.
This equates to 95% accuracy, overall, for the breath test and 98% accuracy for the stool test, compared with conventional colonoscopy – a procedure involving a tube with a camera on the end inserted through the back passage.
“Early detection and early treatment are critical for the successful treatment of cancer and are excellent means for reducing both the economic burden and mortality [of bowel cancer],” the authors were quoted as saying.
Source:Gut,published online February 2011