Positive Breath Test

If your breath sample is detected, there is a suspicion of cancer.  See your doctor for further testing.

The feedback we receive is essential to maintaining the accuracy of the dogs.  Please inform us of any of the following:
If you think you may have a condition that caused a false positive*;
If you are diagnosed with cancer;
If you are diagnosed with a precancerous condition;
If you receive a positive or negative Ivygene Test result.

*If you had a temporary medical condition and suspect it may have affected your result, please contact us to order another Breath Sample Kit for an additional cost of $30 USD.

What is Screening

Screening is a process of identifying apparently healthy people who may have an increased risk of cancer so they can seek further assessment, information, tests and appropriate treatment to reduce their risk and/or any complications arising from the disease. No screening process is perfect. They all produce false positive and false negative results. A false positive is when a person is detected when they do not have cancer. A false negative is when a person is not detected when they do  have cancer. Screening is not a diagnosis. A diagnosis of cancer requires further tests and a biopsy.

For example: Mammography is a screening process that images breast tissue to identify lumps that may be malignant or precancerous. Women who have an abnormal mammogram are referred for further assessment usually resulting in a biopsy to determine whether there is cancer or not. 80 percent of abnormal mammograms are false positives and not cancer. 30 percent of women with breast cancer are not detected by mammography—false negative.

Cancer Screening by Dogs

A hallmark of cancer cells is it’s unusual metabolism known as the Warburg effect. Cancer cells predominantly produce energy by a high rate of glycolysis followed by lactic acid fermentation in cytosol, rather than by a comparatively low rate of glycolysis followed by oxidation of pyruvate in mitochondria as in most normal cells. Malignant, rapidly growing tumor cells typically have glycolytic rates up to 200 times higher than those of normal cells.

A PET Scan is a medical imaging tool that exploits cancers hyper-metabolic properties. A radioactive glucose solution is injected into a patient before they are scanned. The glucose will concentrate in the most metabolically active sites in the body and will be revealed on the scan. Generally PET can visualize a tumor 7mm – 1cm in size depending on location.

Cancer Detection Dogs also exploit cancers hypermetabolic properties. We have trained 4 dogs to detect a general cancer odor composed of metabolic waste products present in a person’s exhaled breath. The dogs have been trained with a library of breath samples collected from people diagnosed but not yet treated for many different cancers. This is a general cancer screening process that detects cancer in general. Abnormal or precancerous cells that have become hyper-metabolic may also be detected. While hyper-metabolism is a hallmark of cancer it is not exclusive. There are benign diseases that can cause false positives on PET scans and with dogs. We have noticed that they tend to be the same and share hyper-metabolic qualities in common. Infectious diseases (mycobacterial, fungal, bacterial infections), sarcoidosis, radiation pneumonitis, tuberculoma, eosinophilic esophagitis, active granulomatous, abscesses (brain, abdominal, renal, tubo-ovarian), wound healing and post-operative surgical conditions can cause false positives. On the other hand, tumors with low glycolytic activity such as adenomas, bronchioloalveolar carcinomas, carcinoid tumors, low grade lymphomas and small sized-tumors and chemotherapy have revealed false negatives.

See Your Doctor

If you have been detected, there is a suspicion of  cancer and we recommend that you see a doctor for  further testing. First see a Dermatologist to rule out  non-melanoma skin cancers which are the most common type of cancers.

Internal cancers can be difficult to diagnose. Often several different tests are required and these tests are generally not good at finding early stage cancer or ruling it out.

See your doctor for a physical exam, discuss any risk factors you may have and consider other tests like the ones listed on this page.

Start with the least invasive tests before moving on to the potentially harmful and expensive ones. Begin with a visual and physical exam, blood, urine and stool tests, before ordering x-rays, an MRI or PET scan.

The physical exam should include direct or assisted visual observation of suspicious lesions in the skin, retina, lip, mouth, larynx, external genitalia, cervix and physical palpation to detect lumps, nodules, or tumors in the breast, mouth, salivary glands, thyroid, subcutaneous tissues, anus, rectum, prostate, testes, ovaries, and uterus and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, axilla, or groin. Women should  have a Pap smear. People with acid reflux should have an endoscopy.

Ask your doctor about these tests:

Ivygene – (circulating tumor DNA)

CBC – Complete Blood Count
CMP – Complete Metabolic Panel
LDH – Lactate Dehydrogenase
LSA, LASA – Lipid-associated Sialic Acid
AFP – Alpha-Fetoprotein
CEA – Carcinoembryonic Antigen
CRP – C-reactive Protein
PSA – Prostate-specific Antigen (men) and alternatively CA125 (women)
Alere NMP22 – Bladderchek

Additional tests and exams should be considered  based on individual symptoms, concerns, personal and family history.

This information is also available in a printable pdf format. Click link below.


Contact us if you have any questions.