Dog Alerts Woman of Breast CancerThe Breast Cancer Site
When Josie Conlon's dog Ted repeatedly pawed at her chest, she felt a lump and soon learned it was cancerous.
The dog, a two-year-old rescue, was usually reserved, according to The Telegraph. He came from an abusive home where he was kept in a small cage and not given any exercise. When Conlon adopted him, the collie had muscle atrophy and could hardly walk. Ted and his new owner formed a strong bond over the next year. The two were so close that Ted's strange behavior, pawing and nuzzling at her chest, raised an alarm with Conlon. She knew something must be off for the dog to be acting this way, and instead of brushing him off, she felt where he had been pawing at her. That's when she found the lump.
Upon visiting the doctor, Conlon was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, the most aggressive form of the disease. In the two weeks between diagnosis and the surgery to remove the lump, Conlon's tumor grew 5 millimeters. She told the Huffington Post that she may have been dead by summer if Ted hadn't alerted her to the quickly growing tumor.
Some dogs undergo vigorous training to learn how to detect cancer but Ted has not had that experience. According to the InSitu Foundation, a non-profit that trains canines to detect lung, ovarian and breast cancer, dogs can accurately detect both early- and late-stage cancer.
According to the Telegraph, Conlon had the lump removed and will undergo four weeks of radiotherapy and 18 weeks of chemotherapy to be sure the cancer does not return. Doctors confirmed the disease has not spread to her lymph nodes and that her prognosis is good.
Conlon told the source that she hopes more dog owners take their pets seriously as they may be trying to tell them something important.