Canine Scent Detection Events

Presentation: June 10th, 2009

Community EventThe Pine Street Foundation and the San Francisco chapter of The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) will be hosting the event:

“Can Dogs Detect Cancer?”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 from 6-7pm

LGBT Center
1800 Market Street @ Octavia
San Francisco, CA
Click here for a map.

Cost: FREE
Free childcare available.
(Please RSVP to (415) 342-0886 if you would like the free childcare.)

Come hear about important, federally funded, ovarian cancer research being conducted in the bay area and learn more about the symptoms and risks of ovarian cancer. A documentary will be shown and there will be Q&A with Pine Street Foundation’s Principal Investigator, Michael McCulloch, LAc, MPH, PhD. Representatives from the San Francisco chapter of The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition will be available for information and questions.

There will be a LIVE DEMO with one of the dogs from the trained dog team in this study.

A short documentary on recent studies related to training dogs in the scent detection of various cancers will be shown as well as this month’s Oprah Magazine article on this study, “Sniffing Out Cancer”.

Canine Scent Detection

Canine Scent Detection: Frequently Asked Questions

The following are general frequently asked questions:

Can one of your dogs sniff me and tell me if I have cancer?
Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to be “screened” by the dogs involved in our research. At this time, it is also not recommended that dogs be used as a primary screening method for cancer; there are simply too many uncertainties and vagaries with the concept to make it a viable or meaningful tool for detection right now. It is our hope, however, that the concepts explored in our research may help develop more accurate cancer screening methods in the future.

Can I meet the dogs?
The dogs on our trained dog team are “at work” training for this study and need their full concentration during this time. Therefore, they are not available for visits from the public. Occasionally, we seek volunteers to work with the trained dog team for light equipment set-up, tear down, and to help walk the dogs. If you are available to volunteer on Mondays from 10am-3pm please call (415) 342-0886 to ask about volunteering with the trained dog team.

What do I do if my dog starts demonstrating unusual behavior around me?
Numerous anecdotal reports have been published and televised documenting individual cases in which dogs began to display persistent and animated behavior around specific body locations on their owners. These behaviors, on subsequent medical evaluation, proved to be accurate, and in some cases life-saving, early warning signs of cancers such as those of the breast and skin (melanoma). Therefore, should your dog display such behavior around a person, we do recommend medical follow-up.

Can you teach me to train my own dog to detect cancer?
While many people have expressed interest in training their dogs for cancer detection, there are various legal and ethical considerations one must address prior to engaging in this sort of training, including what a person would then do with a dog who has received such training. Our own training is still in the research stages…we are not at the point where we’re screening actual people for cancer just yet.

My dog detected my cancer. How can I share my story with you?
We’re always interested to hear personal anecdotes. Please send your story through our Contact Us page.

Do you have any research programs/facilities in my area?
Our training takes place exclusively in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The following are frequently asked questions about our current research project on canine scent detection of ovarian cancer:

What do women breath through?
Women breath into a disposable “rTube” handheld device which is similar in shape to a snorkel and is connected to a commercial grade air purifier. Most women relax or read while holding the rTube and breathing into it at a natural and relaxed pace.

Canine Scent Detection Published Research

Canine Scent Detection: Breast and Lung Cancer

Diagnostic Accuracy of Canine Scent Detection of Lung and Breast Cancers in Exhaled Breath

The following research was published in the March 2006 issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies, a peer-reviewed journal.

Download a full, free copy of this study by clicking here: PDF [104kb]

Precisión del diagnostico de Detección Canina a través del olfato en las fases tempranas y terminales del cáncer de mama y de pulmón: PDF [258kb]

Lung cancer, when symptoms arise, is usually diagnosed at Stage III or IV, when the prognosis is rarely good. Treatment is significantly more effective at early stages (I or II) when the tumor is smaller and has not yet spread. Detecting lung cancer in its early stages is difficult, so therefore developing a feasible and effective early detection method is the subject of a considerable amount of research around the world. In terms of breast cancer, while detection at early stages is comparatively easier, finding methods to detect it even earlier are worthwhile.

Canine Scent Detection Featured Pine Street in the News

O, The Oprah Magazine: Sniffing Out Cancer

Pine Street in the Headlines

Sniffing Out Cancer
by Amanda Robb

This article is from the June 2009 of O, The Oprah Magazine. Click here to read the entire article.

Everyone knows that dogs have great noses. We’ve put them to work detecting explosives, drugs, and missing people. Next assignment: sniffing out cancer.

Tessy, a yellow Labrador retriever, was destined to be a guide dog—she was born at the Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California, after all. But when an infection left her blind in one eye, Tessy had to leave the family business. Thankfully, she still had the asset dogs are famous for—her nose. And with it, she’s found a second career: sniffing out ovarian cancer in women.

Canine Scent Detection Featured Pine Street in the News

Pine Street Foundation on KQED’s “Quest”

The Pine Street Foundation’s research on the early detection of cancer was featured on KQED’s “Quest” program on Tuesday, November 25th, 2008.

Canine Scent Detection Pine Street in the News

New York Times: Dogs Excel on Smell Test to Find Cancer

New York TimesDogs Excel on Smell Test to Find Cancer

Article originally published in the New York Times on January 17, 2006. Click here for the original article.

In the small world of people who train dogs to sniff cancer, a little-known Northern California clinic has made a big claim: that 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.