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Firefighters using “Cancer Dogs” to sniff for cancer

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Canadian canines are stepping up to the plate to sniff out cancer in Texas firefighters.

A pack of beagles trained to detect a myriad of cancer types are currently scanning test kits that allow them to determine if San Antonio firefighters are potentially susceptible to deadly respiratory illnesses.

“We take protective measures when we go into a fire into a hazardous environment with respiratory protection, but it is always the unknowns,” said SAFD HAZMAT member Joe Arrington.

Firefighter Chadwick says she found out about the cancer screening while she was in Illinois.

“Obviously it is a screening tool it is not a diagnostic test,” says Chadwick.

Firefighters breathe into a dust mask and fill out a form for about 10 minutes. The masks are then sent to Canada where “Cancer Dogs” beagles sniff the samples, who can pick up the waste products of cancers.

Firefighters are breathing into masks that will then be sniffed by dogs to smell for cancer.  Image credit:  Video
Firefighters are breathing into masks that will then be sniffed by dogs to smell for cancer. Image credit: Video

If the mask tests positive, it is set aside for another week. If positive a second time, the firefighter will be screened again.

“The reason for the second test what these dogs are smelling for are the waste products for the cancers, but there are other things that can cause a false positive,” adds Chadwick.

According to ABC13, around 1,200 kits have been completed since December.

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