Scent test ‘detects bladder cancer’


British researchers said Monday they have devised a test that can detect bladder cancer from certain odors in the urine.

The technique was inspired by reports about how dogs may be able to sniff out certain cancers, said researchers from the University of Liverpool and University of the West of England.

If wider studies can confirm the test’s effectiveness, the technique could offer a new way to test early for a cancer that is often costly to detect and treat.

“It is thought that dogs can smell cancer, but this is obviously not a practical way for hospitals to diagnose the disease,” said Norman Ratcliffe, from the Institute of Biosensor Technology at UWE Bristol.

“Taking this principle, however, we have developed a device that can give us a profile of the odor in urine. It reads the gases that chemicals in the urine can give off when the sample is heated.”

About 72,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S., and about 10,000 new cases are seen annually in Britain. Smoking is considered the leading risk factor.