Home » Clicker Training Community Blog » Press

Clicker Trained Dogs Detect Cancer

Filed in - Press

This is absolutely amazing to me. Dogs have been clicker trained to detect breast and lung cancer by smelling the breath of patients! And they're really good at it, too! Standard, humane methods of dog training employing food rewards and a clicker, as well as assessment of the dog's behavior by observers blinded to the identity of the cancer patient and control samples, were used in the experiment. The results of the study showed that dogs can detect breast and lung cancer with sensitivity and specificity between 88% and 97%. The high accuracy persisted even after results were adjusted to take into account whether the lung cancer patients were currently smokers. Moreover, the study also confirmed that the trained dogs could even detect the early stages of lung cancer, as well as early breast cancer. The researchers concluded that breath analysis has the potential to provide a substantial reduction in the uncertainty currently seen in cancer diagnosis, once further work has been carried out to standardize and expand this methodology. Steve White's session at ClickerExpo on scent discrimination detailed how to train for things like drugs and bombs, but this is the first application of the same techniques to detecting illness. Technorati Tags: , , ,