• Maya and Terri
  • Maya

Motivation for Cancer Detection Dog Project

For thousand of years,  Eastern medicine has used Smell to diagnose many illnesses. Very little research is dedicated to Early Detection of Cancers, with the majority of funding going toward drug development for treatment of late stage cancers.

  • There is a need for new innovative screening methods that are non-invasive and highly accurate.
  • Many types of cancers lack a reliable screening method and often go undiagnosed until their late-stage.
  • Some current first-line cancer screening test, produce high false-positive or high false-negative rates leading to more test, increase risk to patient and increase cost .

Scientific Basis

High Accuracy

Cancer Detection Dogs (CDD) are highly accurate and low in false negatives rates.


Dogs olfactory senses allow then to smell 1-2 parts per trillion, this is equivalent to detecting 1-2 drop of a substance diluted in 20 Olympic size swimming pools.

High Olfactory

Dogs noses contain up to 350 million olfactory sensors vs. humans 5 million.


The dog’s sense of smell has yet to be surpassed by any three electronic noses developed, stemming directly from previous research with cancer detection dogs.

Scientific Theory & Proposed Benefits

  • The dog’s ability to detect the odor of cancer it is believed to be linked to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) produced by malignant cells, which are different from normal cells.
  • They can also detect the minute odors associated with the changes in Metabolic Waste Products.
  • VOCs & the minute odors associated with them, presence is found in cancer patients’ exhaled breath, blood or urine.
  • These minute odors can be detected by a dog’s keen sense of smell, even in the early stages of disease.
  • Early Detection and diagnosis of cancer or life threatening conditions means patients have more treatment options, require less hospitalization and tend to be less costly.
  • Screening method utilizing cancer detection dogs (CDD) are less invasive, poses no risk to patient, cost less and significantly higher survival rates.