If you are aware of having been exposed to asbestos in the past, you live with constant worry about your risk of being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. The rare and fatal disease is caused by exposure to the carcinogenic material, but the cancer’s tumors take decades to develop, and the disease does not begin to manifest symptoms until it is too far advanced to be effectively treated. Researchers are working furiously to find early detection tools that those at risk can access easily and inexpensively, and they believe that dogs may be of assistance in their quest.
The dogs in question are beagles, and though they have not yet been used to specifically diagnose malignant mesothelioma, they have already proven themselves remarkably adept at detect blood serum containing lung cancer cells. Beagles are well known for having extremely sensitive smelling capabilities, and they have proven to be 96.7 percent accurate at identifying positive blood samples and 97.5 percent accurate at determining that no cancer cells are present. Following training for cancer detection in blood, the animals moved on to breath samples from patients with cancer. Once the dogs are able to make the same type of distinctions, the researchers from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine hope to identify the chemical makeup of those samples and transfer the information to an over-the-counter diagnostic test that can be used long before mesothelioma symptoms begin to appear.
The research is being led by clinical professor of family and occupational medicine Thomas Quinn, DO, who explains, “This canine scent detection research could potentially change the whole paradigm of future early cancer detection. The objective is to advance canine scent detection of cancer from the realm of research into the sphere of evidence-based, early cancer detection.”
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or if you are living with the fear of a diagnosis, you need an advocate on your side. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244 to learn how we can help.