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“Frankie” the German Shepherd That Can Smell Thyroid Cancer

Jaclyn Hughes

Dogs are more than just man’s best friend; they can not only love you unconditionally their entire lives, but some can also be trained to conduct lifesaving operations as well. Behold “Frankie” the incredible dog that has the ability to smell patients with thyroid cancer. Just let that soak in for a minute. The world has dogs that can detect cancer without one iota of blood sampling required! It’s unbelievable what canines can do these days, and of course he isn’t the first dog with this ability, nor the last- but as these types of animal trainings become more common across the globe, the brighter the outcome for millions of patients.

Frankie’s insight is very special because he can smell the cancer prior to any medical diagnosis or testing whatsoever. Patients suffering the effects of thyroid cancer may have their answers revealed by a simple meeting with the dog. The Daily Mail depicted Frankie’s abilities that were tested with 34 patients where he displayed an 88% accuracy capability. He is trained to alert others if cancer is present by lying down if he detects it inside a patient’s urine sample and if it isn’t, he simply turns away.

Thyroid under and over production cases are growing rapidly and it can often be challenging to diagnose for many highly skilled physicians. The thyroid is a gland located inside the neck and when not functioning properly can result in weight gain, weight loss, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. Usually, medical teams need to use blood samples and hormone testing to identify thyroid issues. Even once the patient has undergone surgery to remove such tumors, many providers feel it is tricky to declare them as “cancer free”, where special dogs like Frankie can come in to help solve the puzzle. Our furry friends have a sense of smell that is ten times stronger than what we humans can detect. Training is going to continue with Frankie and other dogs alike to see if they can also detect other forms of cancer inside urine samples. For now, the medically trained professionals will be the deciding factors on notifying patients if they truly have cancer of any sort, but Frankie certainly shows a totally new method of testing to further develop as science and time progresses.

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