Floyd the Dog Senses Owner’s Cancer; Saves Life

July 30, 2012

boxer dog smells cancer saves life of owner

Carol Witcher of Atlanta, is now cancer free and says, according to the Daily Mail, that she has her dog, Floyd Henry to thank for that. For four days Floyd was pawing at Witcher’s chest, nipping at her and trying to indicate something. After one particularly hard push at Witcher, Floyd looked right at her and pawed at her right breast, which compelled her to see a doctor.

After visiting Winship Cancer Institute at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, doctors found breast cancer for which Witcher had surgery and chemotherapy. Even the doctors believe that the dog saved her life.

Interestingly, according to Dr. Sheryl Gabram-Mendola, a breast surgical oncologist at the Institute, cancer causes a person’s body to give off organic compounds, which can be smelled by dogs, but are unidentifiable to humans. By testing 300 molecules in a patient’s breath, Gabram-Mendola has been able to identify cancer correctly, 75% of the time. In Witcher’s case, it worked.

Dogs have been trained to detect what Gabram-Mendola has tested for. The British journal Gut published a study in January that noted an eight-year-old black Lab named Marine who was trained to smell the breath of potential cancer patients. Marine was able to detect colorectal cancer 91 percent of the time from their breath and 97 percent from their stools. Pretty amazing!

The Daily Mail notes that dogs are able to do this because their sense of smell is up to a million times better than ours. They have also been able to sniff out ovarian cancer, lung cancer and more.

Sources: Info and main image via Daily Mail

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