Cancer Smelling Dogs

Last night 60 Minutes aired an article on Cancer Smelling Dogs… Where can I get one of these dogs?

The tobacconist?

is there a way I could train a puppy to detect cancer myself? I think that’d be an ultimate in “preventative medicine”

I dunno – everytime you dropped a puppy treat in your lap and the dog started paying you a lot of attention you’d have to panic.

As with any type of highly specialized dogs (guiding dogs, drug sniffing dogs, fish herding dogs), there’s a tremendous amount of work and training. Considering the short life span of a dog, all that training amounts to a full time job for about two years. So either you have to do it yourself, or cough up about $30k, which is the type of pricetag I see on these type of dogs.
I don’t know where you could by one, though.

The more important question is: can dogs really smell cancer, and if so, how? Can they tell the difference between benign and malignant tumors? If you could answer that, then you could build an electronic cancer-sniffer, plus you’d have a better understanding of cancer.