A Maryland woman diagnosed with lung cancer is currently on remission after an early detection by her dog.
Anne Wills, 53, who lives in Baltimore, shared how her seven-year-old dog, Heidi, had "sniffed" her lung cancer. The duo works for a search and rescue organization called Dogs Finding Dogs. Heidi therefore is well trained to smell people and pets that are declared missing.
According to an ABC News report, Wills discovered something odd with Heidi's behavior around February. She noticed that every time she tried to stand up after sitting down, Heidi would prevent her from doing so. Rather, she was scratching Wills's arms and appeared panicking and panting. She also saw how her dog would sniff her, place her nose on her chest, and breathe in deeply.
Wills eventually visited a doctor in Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore where a doctor discovered three cancer spots in her lungs. She is currently working with oncologist Dr. Esner Cole, who also credited the dog for the early detection. If the dog hadn't been persistent, it would have taken some time before the cancer is detected. By then, it would have already spread and become incurable. Wills mentioned that she was asymptomatic prior to the diagnosis.
The ability of dogs to "smell cancer" has been a subject of many studies over the years. In one of the recent British studies, at least eight dogs are currently participating in a trial where they need to sniff more than 2,500 samples of urine.
The urine samples came from people of different ages and from those with cancer and ones with only cancer-like symptoms. Although other researchers have already been conducted, the recent study wanted to ensure the level of cancer-smelling activities of the dog.
One of the dogs that are part of the trial is called Lucy. She has smelled the owner's breast cancer, which could have become invasive if it wasn't detected early. The dog has since been trained to smell bladder, prostate, and kidney cancer with 95% accuracy.