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Dogs may detect cancer, researchers say

Researchers in California have discovered dogs may be able to sniff out the presence of cancer in humans. KPBS reporter Beth Ford Roth has the story.

It's no secret dogs have a powerful sense of smell. It's as much as 100 times more powerful than a human's. Researchers at the non-profit Pine Street Foundation in Northern California conducted a study to find out if dogs could detect cancer with their noses.

Foundation director Nicholas Broffman says the study used five household dogs.

Broffman: "They were presented with five choices, and they could smell all of them and lay down in front of the ones they thought had cancer."

Broffman says the dogs had 99 percent accuracy detecting lung cancer, and 98 percent with breast cancer.

Broffman: "This is very important because the earlier you detect cancer, the more options you have, the more time you have."

Researchers hope to do larger studies on dogs' ability to detect cancer, also focusing on ovarian cancer. Beth Ford Roth, KPBS news.

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