Can You Smell Cancer?


Quick Answer

Some cancers may alter the fragrance and smell of persons with the disease. However, the smell is not likely to be detected by the human nose.

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Full Answer

Through the normal course of human metabolism, thousands of waste products are released through breath, blood, urine and the skin. Substances released by cancer cells, however, may differ from those generated by healthy cells or interfere with the way the body breaks down nutrients.

Devices known as 'electronic noses' are used by some doctors to track and detect signs of cancer in the human body. The smell detection is close to the sensitivity of a dog's nose, which has up to 10,000 times the sensitivity than that of humans.

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