7 Healthcast: Cancer canine
They say a dog is man's best friend, and while they may seem reliant on us, one Ludlow woman learned how much she could lean on Wiggins, her 10 pound poodle.
"He loved to cuddle with me," Dog owner Suzanne St. Jermaine said.
It all started for Jermaine in January. She and Wiggins had curled up to go to sleep.
"I was laying on my left side and all of a sudden he walked over and stepped on me, stepped on my left breast and it hurt…and I thought that's odd," Jermaine said.
Two nights later at bedtime Wiggins was pacing and fussing and then...
"He comes over and steps on my left breast and I went ‘Ow’ and pushed him away, because that's how much it hurt," Jermaine said.
It was enough for Jermaine to get a mammogram.
"It ended up it was two tumors next to each other," Jermaine said. "They did the mastectomy and removing out the lymph nodes, and it had already spread to one of my lymph nodes under my arm."
Recent studies like this one in California suggest dogs can detect cancer.
"Something patients to be aware of if they have a pet, particularly a dog who is going to a particular body part... that would be means to investigate for screening for cancer," Dr. Wilson Mertens of the Bay State Medical Center said.
Jermaine is convinced she's alive today thanks to Wiggins..
"If it wasn't for him, it would have been too late by the time I realized," Jermaine said.
A recent study in the Integrative Cancer Therapies journal found trained dogs can detect lung and breast cancer by smelling people's breath. Previous studies have confirmed trained dogs can also detect skin cancer melanomas by sniffing skin lesions.
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