Friday, June 19, 2015

Canines Countering Cancer

750px-German_Shepherd_Dogs_portraitInSitu Foundation is a tax-exempt non-profit organization dedicated to training dogs to detect cancer in humans. According to the Foundation, “Dogs’ accuracy levels have been proven to be 88% specific, and 99% sensitive in the early detection of lung and breast cancer.” So just as dogs have been trained to find narcotics, explosives, insects (lice or bedbugs) or fruit, they are now being taught to detect cancer.

The big difference with cancer detection, according to InSitu, is that “with cancer detection, you’re dealing with 4000 volatile organic compounds in the human breath, with only some of them combined to make up ‘cancer scent’. This is why hundreds of samples are needed in order for the dog to imprint target odor.”

InSitu’s mission is to “utilize canine scent detection to provide a diagnostic screening method for the early detection of cancer in humans. … It start[s] in the shelters and rescues, choosing dogs that don’t have homes. InSitu rehabilitates, and then trains these dogs to detect cancer. InSitu uses high drive dogs, such as German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Shepherd / Lab mixes, Beagles, Belgian Malinois, and most mixed breeds containing any of these combinations.”

Cancer in situ is “an early stage cancer in which the cancerous growth or tumor is still confined to the site from which it started, and has not spread to surrounding tissue or other organs in the body.” Belgian_Malinois_01

Interested in knowing more about this promising initiative? Make a donation, or donate a breath sample (http://www.dogsdetectcancer.org/). According to InSitu, information is forthcoming on how to host a fundraiser or an awareness breath drive in your area.