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04/02/2011 Bowel cancer detection through blood and stools

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In recent tests carried out in Japan, a Labrador has been able to detect the early signs of bowel cancer through smell. This is the latest cancer detection test for dogs that have already found to be able to detect breast cancer, skin, bladder, lung and ovarian cancer.

Researchers already know that tumours can be detected through specific volatile organic compounds that produce smells which are present in patients. The dog used in the recent tests was found to be accurate in the detection of bowel cancer in 33 out of 36 cases when testing people’s breath and in 37 out of 38 tests when testing people’s stools or blood.

Dr Hideto Sonoda from Kyushu University said: “It may be difficult to introduce canine scent judgment into clinical practice owing to the expense and time required for the dog trainer and dog education.

“Scent ability and concentration vary between dogs and also within the same dog on different days.

Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “This study looks interesting but it is for the scientists to verify whether these findings could lead to future developments for screening.

“The clear message is that screening saves lives and we encourage everyone eligible to take part in the existing NHS bowel cancer screening programme

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