It is very unlikely that a dog will be used as the only way to detect cancer. Especially since there are certain things that a dog may smell that would alert you that you may have cancer when, in fact, that you do not.
It has not been determined whether dogs can be reliably trained to smell cancer. It would be very difficult to train a dog to communicate what they have smelled without further testing accurately. If dogs do manage to be trained this way, it will be a long time before this is made practical
An alternative being researched is an ‘electric nose.’ These electronic nosescan pick up the unstable molecules that are produced by cancer cells with better accuracy than your dog. This type of technology is being tested in many different types of cancers, such as breast and lung cancer.
It is still very early to tell if electronic noses will be readily used. There still needs to be a lot more research to make sure that these machines are accurate and reliable at early cancer detection. This is one technology that has advanced further than any other of its kind. It is very likely that they will have wide use for detecting many different types of cancer. Electronic noses have the same job as a dog’s nose but would give doctors more reliable and consistent feedback.
If your dog is trying to alert you of something and you cannot figure out what they are trying to tell you, continue to investigate. They may be alerting you that you may have cancer. While dogs are not a very reliable indication that you have cancer, they may be used more in the future. Electronic noses with more development and testing may be the next device that is used in human medicine to alert people that they have cancer.
Dogs can do amazing things, and if we can teach them to detect cancer early, this could possibly help extend the life of their owners.