The Fremont (Calif.) Fire Department will screen all its firefighters and administrative staff for cancer by sending breath samples to cancer-sniffing dogs.
The firefighters will breathe normally into a mask for 10 minutes; that mask will collect the scent of their breath and be sealed. The samples will be shipped to a Canadian-based organization called CancerDogs.
“It’s fairly new, kind of obscure,” fire Captain Kyle Adams told the East Bay Times of the screening method, which costs roughly $20 per person. Once the masks are sealed in a foil pouch and sent for testing, the department will have its results six to eight weeks later.
CancerDogs has been working with fire departments since 2011 and has screened 26,000 people. The dogs are accurate about 95 percent of the time.
“My whole feeling on this thing is there’s nothing but positive for anybody involved,” Adams said, “because if you don’t do it and you have cancer, you’re going to find out anyway. If you do do it, and you find out, then you found it earlier.”