can you smell cancer

Mariah Brown

written by

Mariah Brown

update on

can you smell cancer

Welcome! Are you curious about the intriguing possibility of detecting cancer through smell? Have you ever wondered if it’s true that certain types of cancer have distinct odors? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the fascinating research on odor detection in relation to cancer and discuss the potential implications for early detection and treatment. As someone who has experience around “can you smell cancer,” you’re in the right place to dive into this captivating topic. Let’s uncover the truth together, shall we?

The Science Behind Cancer Odor Detection

Understanding the Research

Research studies have revealed remarkable findings, suggesting that certain types of cancer emit distinct odors that can be detected by sensitive noses. While traditionally associated with dogs, a Scottish “super smeller” has astounded the scientific community by demonstrating the ability to perceive these cancer-related odors. This breakthrough challenges the conventional belief that only dogs possess the olfactory prowess to detect cancer.

Investigations into this phenomenon have highlighted the high accuracy rate of smell-based cancer detection. The “super smeller” exhibits an exceptional ability to correctly identify the odor associated with cancer, offering a potential avenue for non-invasive and cost-effective screening.

Types of Cancer with Distinct Odors

Studies indicate that certain types of cancer, such as ovarian and colorectal cancer, may emit unique odors that differ from the norm. The ability to detect these specific odors could revolutionize early detection efforts and assist in improving treatment outcomes.

For instance, research has shown that ovarian carcinomas can be detected by specific odor profiles, opening up possibilities for early screening and diagnosis. Moreover, colorectal cancer has also shown promising results in canine scent detection, leading researchers to explore these odor profiles further.

Can Cancer Treatments Cause an Odor?

Side Effects of Cancer Treatments

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy can potentially produce an unpleasant odor as a side effect. This can be attributed to the medications used during treatment or metabolic changes within the body. While it may be disheartening, it’s essential to understand that managing these odors is possible.

Tips for Managing Odor from Cancer Treatment

Good hygiene practices play a crucial role in mitigating the odor caused by cancer treatment. Regular bathing and wearing clean clothes contribute significantly to odor management. Opting for scent-free hygiene products and laundry detergents can also help reduce unwanted smells.

Ensuring proper ventilation in living spaces is equally important. Well-ventilated environments help alleviate odor buildup. Additionally, the use of air fresheners or odor-neutralizing products can contribute to a more pleasant living experience for cancer patients undergoing treatment.

Understanding Cancer Odor: A Detailed Breakdown

Type of Cancer Distinct Odor
Ovarian Cancer Specific odor profiles that can be detected
Colorectal Cancer Different odor profiles from healthy individuals

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can smelling cancer be a reliable diagnostic tool?

While the “super smeller” case shows promise, further research is necessary to determine the reliability of odor-based cancer detection on a larger scale.

2. Are there any limitations to relying on odor detection for cancer screening?

Yes, ethical considerations around accuracy, consent, and privacy need to be addressed before smell-based cancer detection can be widely implemented.

3. How can managing odor from cancer treatment improve a patient’s quality of life?

Managing odor can alleviate discomfort and enhance a patient’s emotional well-being, making the treatment journey slightly more manageable.

4. Can individuals be trained to detect cancer through smell?

While the “super smeller” case suggests humans can be trained, further research is required to develop reliable training protocols and ensure consistent results.

5. Are there any other potential benefits of smell-based cancer detection?

Early detection aids in prompt treatment initiation, potentially improving treatment outcomes and increasing survival rates.

6. Can other diseases or conditions produce distinct odors as well?

While it’s an area of ongoing research, some studies suggest that conditions like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease may also have unique odors.

7. How can I support cancer patients experiencing odor-related issues?

Offering empathetic support, maintaining a clean environment, and assisting with hygiene practices can go a long way in supporting cancer patients and managing odor.

8. Can certain foods contribute to the odor associated with cancer?

While research is limited, some studies suggest that certain foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, may influence body odor. However, further investigation is necessary to determine their specific impact on cancer-related odors.

9. How can healthcare professionals utilize odor detection in cancer diagnosis?

Integrating odor detection as a screening tool alongside existing diagnostic methods can enhance early detection efforts and improve overall diagnostic accuracy.

10. What are the future implications of odor-based cancer detection?

If confirmed as a reliable method, smell-based cancer detection could revolutionize early detection, leading to improved treatment outcomes, and ultimately saving lives.


Exploring the exciting realm of detecting cancer through smell has unveiled astonishing possibilities. While research is still ongoing, the presence of a “super smeller” with the ability to accurately identify cancer-related odors is undeniably captivating. If harnessed successfully, smell-based cancer detection could significantly impact early detection efforts, treatment outcomes, and ultimately, the lives of those affected by cancer. Continue exploring the fascinating world of cancer detection, and stay informed on the latest research breakthroughs that may shape the future of cancer screening.


Leave a Comment