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Medicine Technology

Sniffing Out Cancer With Electronic Noses 22

An anonymous reader writes "We may soon be able to obtain easy and early diagnoses of diseases by smell. This week researchers found one odor-sniffing machine was as good as a mammogram at detecting breast cancer — and many other devices capable of spotting other diseases may be on the way."
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Sniffing Out Cancer With Electronic Noses

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  • Re:Early Detection (Score:4, Interesting)

    by somepunk ( 720296 ) on Monday March 10, 2014 @10:44AM (#46445345) Homepage

    Some treatment, maybe, possibly harmful, but not chemotherapy. That stuff is saved for the real hard cases, not dubious initial diagnoses. There's a lot of ambiguity and overreaction in medicine, but I don't think much of it is here.

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Monday March 10, 2014 @11:37AM (#46445807) Homepage Journal

    I've seen demos (albeit on TV documentations) of dogs having been trained for cancer detection. While I can see it might be a boon in third world countries, where folks tend not be to as uptight as most are on this side of the pond, I don't see it catching on in the U.S. I just can't imagine folks laying on a table (the kind where each arm and leg is supported separately) in their skivvies and letting Toto go for a bit of a walk while he sniffs your wobbly bits.

    Here's the thing I've noticed about people's reactions to cancer-sniffing dogs: It's not the 'dog sniffing your junk' part that bothers most people, it's the whole "finding out you have some sort of cancer." My wife used to work at a vet clinic that had a cancer-sniffer as a regular patient, and some patrons (who knew of the terrier's powers) would go out of their way to stay as far away from the dog as possible, presumably because they didn't want to know.

    BTW, having personally observed the abilities of some canines to sniff out things like cancerous tumors? Mind-blowing; would probably be doubly so if I weren't so well-read about dogs.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva