Why screening is hard

It’s a simple fact that the most effective thing we can do to cure more cancers is to catch them earlier. If we find bladder cancer at an early stage, the five year survival is 88%; if we catch it at a late stage, when it has started spreading around the body, it drops below 15%. This is why we screen for certain diseases, including breast, bowel and cervical cancer. These large-scale screening programs are the best hope we have for majorly reducing the toll cancer takes on our lives. Continue reading

Can dogs smell cancer?


This week the Guardian reported on the ability of dogs to detect prostate cancer.

Dogs trained to detect prostate cancer with more than 90% accuracy

The Guardian – 11/04/2015

Italian scientists published a study this week that showed that two dogs they tested were able to detect prostate cancer with remarkable accuracy. One of the dogs correctly detected all cases of prostate cancer and the other detected 98.6% of cancers. On the other hand, the dogs falsely detected cancer in 1.3% and 2.4% of the negative samples too. Both dogs are German Shepherds that had previously been trained for bomb detection, and while their success as bomb sniffers was not addressed, the paper shows that as prostate cancer sniffers they are pretty amazing. Continue reading