Canines have been trained to identify cancer with their noses up to 97 per cent accuracy — leading to hopes of better overall testing for cancer.
The beagles also were able to find cancer up to 18 months before medical tests.
Scientists are eager to find the exact compounds that dogs are able to smell, to create screening tests for those substances.
Study leader Heather Junqueira told the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Florida: “Early detection offers the best hope of survival.
“A highly sensitive test could save thousands of lives.”
Her scientific team at US company BioScentDx were able to train three beagles to identify signs of lung cancer in blood samples.
The dogs were able to find it in 96.7 per cent of cases — and sniffed out cancer-free samples in 97.7 percent of the time.
They were then trained up to be able to sniff out breast cancer. Bowel and prostate cancers are next on the list.