Unclear why some dogs can detect cancer in humans

Unclear why some dogs can detect cancer in humans

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Maureen Burns knew her dog Max was acting differently, but didn't know why. Turns out, Burns had a cancerous lump in her breast. It was removed and Max instantly changed. Their story was documented by BBC Earth back in January.

"The day I was picked up from the hospital he was his old hyper self again; put his nose across my breast to check where the operation had been and he was wagging his tale," Burns said in the program.

Diane Papazian, of Staten Island, said her Doberman pinscher Troy detected stage 2 breast cancer. She shared her story on Fox and Friends.

"He saved my life, he really did we always say, what would have happened if he hadn't been in the bed with us," she said.

Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a veterinarian and oncologist at the Animal Medical Center on the Upper East Side, said: "We don't know the chemical compound the dogs are smelling because if we did we could design a machine that could do the same thing."

Dr. Hohenhaus said that dogs have extra ruffles of tissue in their nose, with more smell receptors than humans.

"People have 10 million smell receptors and your dog has 30 million smell receptors," she said. "Dogs can smell all kinds of things that you don't even know are out there."

Some say the dogs can be more helpful than big medical machines. They're also trained to detect low blood sugar levels in diabetics. They can also detect seizures and severe allergic reactions, taking the meaning of "man's best friend" to a whole other level.

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