Dogs and Urine Detect Prostate Cancer
Dogs are best known as man’s best friend, but did you know that dogs might next be deemed man’s doctor? Studies show that dogs are able to sniff out a hormone produced in urine when a man is in the early stages of prostate cancer. This, however, isn’t a new area for doctors, who have known that dogs can typically smell cancer hormones, if properly trained. A dog has a more sensitive nose than humans, therefore allowing the animals to detect the unique hormone smell. In a study of sixty six samples, the dogs were correct sixty three times.
A urine test is also being developed that can help doctors better test for prostate problems, even more than the current blood test or rectal exam alone. Gen-Probe’s Progensa PCA3 detected about half of the cases of prostate cancer and gave about a twenty percent false positive rate. This urine test looks for a genetic string of RNA that does not appear to have any function but is overactive in men with prostate problems. A cancer-free man would have a level of this RNA of about 20-25, while a man with precursor symptoms might score around 38-40. If there is active prostate cancer, the score will be about 50-55.
Overall, the test correctly identified forty nine percent of prostate cancer cases, and about seventy eight percent of the men who tested positive for it actually had cancer. This test was approved in Europe in 2006, but it is not yet approved for the United States.