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A little-known clinic has made a big claim: It has trained five dogs--three Labradors and two Portuguese water dogs--to detect lung cancer in the breath of cancer sufferers with 99 percent accuracy.
The study was based on well-established concepts. It has been known since the 1980s that tumors exude alkanes and benzene derivatives not found in healthy tissue.
Other researchers have shown that dogs, whose noses can pick up odors in the low parts-per-billion range, can be trained to detect skin cancers or react differently to dried urine from healthy people and those with bladder cancer--but never with such consistency.