Tim Buckner has shared his home with his dog Banjo for less than a year. But in that time, Banjo has possibly extended his life.
Buckner, who lives in North Carolina, visited a dermatologist after Banjo twice scratched off a wart that had grown on Buckner’s arm, WLOS reported. “Banjo came up and looked at it and looked at me and sniffed at it, and reached up with his claw and just tore it off,” says Buckner.
To Buckner’s surprise, the doctor determined the growth was actually stage II skin cancer.
This incident is one of many anecdotal examples of dogs detecting cancer in their owners, possibly saving their lives. In fact, some institutions are even training dogs in detection of various types of cancer. For instance, last year, two puppies began training to detect oral and laryngeal cancers at the University of California, Davis. Researchers hope to use these dogs to screen patients by 2018 and to eventually expand to other types of cancer.
Also, for the past several years, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center have been training dogs to locate ovarian cancer at early stages, when the survival rate is upwards of 90 percent.
A study last year found that dogs have a 98 percent accuracy rate in detecting prostate cancer, and a separate study reported a 90 percent accuracy rate in dogs’ ability to find thyroid cancer. Learn more about why dogs are so successful at this type of screening here.
See Banjo's story here: