How Do We Know That Dogs Detect Tumors?
Over the past decade, dozens of cancer survivors have testified to being “diagnosed” by their dogs. And, for many years, their claims were met with nothing but skepticism.
Well, a few recent cases made it impossible to dismiss the notion as mere coincidence. One of the most prominent examples is the story of Maureen Burns and her amazing Collie.
Max the Collie
Digital Mammography & 3D Ultrasound
Max, a 10-year-old Collie, first began acting up a few days before his owner – Maureen Burns – discovered a lump in her breast. Burns went to get a check-up immediately but her mammography showed no sign of a tumor.
Ironically, she worried Max’s behavior may be a sign that he’s nearing the end of his life (10 is the average lifespan of Collie-mixes.)
“He just wasn’t happy. Wouldn’t come with me, wouldn’t sit by me, wouldn’t sit on my lap. He would come up and touch my breast with his nose and back off, so desperately unhappy.”
When Maureen realized what her best friend was worried about, she went back to the hospital for a more thorough examination. In addition to undergoing another digital mammography, she insisted on a 3D ultrasound (a more detailed testing option.) Burns was told that her results are clear and she has nothing to worry about.
But Max just wouldn’t let up. After another week of witnessing his alarming behavior, Maureen decided to get a biopsy of the lump. Thanks to her trust and Max’s unrelenting pleas, doctors finally discovered the tumor in her breast.
Fortunately, it was in an early stage, so they were able to surgically remove all the cancer tissue. Burns was amazed to find a happy, playful Max when she got back from the hospital.
In 2014, a group of UK doctors and scientists have joined to form the InSitu Foundation. The non-profit trains dogs to detect cancer at stage zero – a feat unmatched by modern medicine.
The company’s CEO, Claire Guest, knows first-hand how important their work is. Six years ago, her dog Daisy began acting up like never before. She told CNN “Daisy kept lunging into my chest and recoiling – all day, for almost two weeks. When I got the hint, I decided to get a check-up…It led me to find a lump.” Her doctor was just as amazed, admitting that it might have been too late if Guest didn’t react to Daisy.
“…Had it not been drawn to my attention within a month or so, I’m told my prognosis would have been very poor.”
According to the Daily Mail, Daisy has “diagnosed” over 500 other sufferers since saving Guest in 2009.
In 2015, InSitu Foundation launched a research study to silence the naysayers with undeniable, scientific proof. The study is ongoing, but early reports indicate that the results surpassed all expectations. Preliminary results showed that some canines make more accurate diagnoses than the world’s leading oncologists.
Is It Possible (And Practical)?
Early detection isn’t available to everyone because testing requires expensive, state-of-the-art equipment. A huge chunk of the U.S. federal healthcare budget is committed to early-detection technology.
For just a fraction of the price, a nationwide Cancer Detection Canine program would eliminate wait-lists, painful biopsies and unreasonable medical bills, while lowering fatality rates.
The rest of the budget could be invested into actual treatment. Not only would this save even more lives, but also bring us closer to finally finding a cure.
Why Do We Need More Proof?
Cancer can only be cured at its early stages, so the demand for new “better” equipment is huge. Today, oncological equipment is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are hundreds of corporations specializing in design, research or manufacturing of such equipment.
Now, we’re not saying that everyone involved in the cancer diagnostics equipment market is actively derailing efforts to fight the disease financial gain. But it only takes one billionaire to block the efforts of a few small charities, especially if a few others decide to look the other way.