A Maryland dog saved her owner’s life by detecting lung cancer in an early stage. The woman’s cancer is now in remission thanks to her dog.
Anne Willis, from Baltimore, says she went to the doctor who diagnosed her with lung cancer after her dog Heidi showed strange behavior. The woman and her dog are working together for Dogs Finding Dogs – a search and rescue organization, so the dog is trained to smell missing people and pets.
According to the woman, the dog began behaving strange since February. Heidi was preventing Willis from standing up, scratching her arms and panicking. More than that, the dog was placing her nose on the woman’s chest and sniff it closely.
Thinking that something might be wrong, Willis decided to see a doctor. She went to the Saint Agnes Hospital, where the doctor spotted three cancer spots in the woman’s lungs. Dr. Esner Cole, Willis’ current oncologist is also crediting the dog for the early detection of the woman’s cancer.
Both Willis and Cole are sure that if the dog wouldn’t have done what she did so persistent, there are big chances that the cancer wouldn’t have been detected in time. Especially since the woman was totally asymptomatic, by the time of the detection the cancer would have probably spread and become incurable.
Many researches have studied dogs’ ability of smelling cancer during the last years. A British team of scientists is currently conducting a study in which eight dogs are sniffing over 2,500 samples of urine in an attempt to detect cancer.
The samples come from persons of all ages, some of which have been diagnosed with cancer and others are only having cancer-like symptoms. The clinical trial aims to measure the dogs’ level of cancer-smelling activities.
Lucy, one of the dogs involved in the study has already smelled her owner’s breast cancer which led to an early detection, finally saving the woman’s life. Since then, Lucy has been trained to smell other types of cancer, such as kidney, bladder and prostate cancer with an accuracy of 95 percent.
However, Lucy and Heidi aren’t the only dogs capable of smelling cancer. Carol Withcer reported in 2008 that her eight-year-old boxer – Floyd Henry – has also detected her breast cancer by pushing his nose into her right breast and sniffing it for long.
All these dogs and many others, as hundreds of testimonies are saying, have been saving the lives of people they loved by smelling their cancer and being able to communicate their owners that something is wrong. So next time your dog behaves strangely towards your body, listen to them and go take a check-up.
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