In the city of Sousse, young dog breeders have come up with a way to detect breast cancer by using the assistance of the four-legged animals.
The young men established a dog habitat of at least 80 dogs from different origins and trained them on the complex medical task by using their well-known strong sense of smell.
-From cinema to hospitals
Roy is the most famous dog in Kalaa Kebira, Sousse in detecting breast cancer with an accuracy of 97%. His name was taken from a famous dog in Egyptian cinema in the 1960s.
The detection process begins when trainers put sweat from a woman’s breasts in tubes. They then put it in bandages and give the bandages to the dogs to smell to determine if breast cancer is detected.
"We do many medical experiments using the dogs' sense of smell and providing these experiences to the Arab and African worlds, especially since our experience is considered the first in Africa," said Executive Director of the Dog Training Center K9, Ali Ayyad.
“We have succeeded in training the Belgian Shepherd, including Roy the dog, as well as other dogs to be able to detect cancer,” he told Anadolu Agency.
*From the womb of the tragedy
He said the idea to train dogs to detect cancer came from a painful experience.
"One of my relatives died because of breast cancer and I was very sad and started to think of training dogs to detect breast cancer after those experiences were just limited to European countries,” said Ayyad.
"Among the 500 samples, Roy was able to detect 485 cases with a high success rate ... and we are currently trying to train dogs to detect diseases of the bladder and uterus cancer, foot-and-mouth disease and diabetes,” he said.
"With the concrete efforts of Tunisia and the medical team supervising the dogs’ training, we look forward to exporting this experience to the Arab world and Africa," he said.
Ayyad said dogs are also being trained to examine samples of coronavirus to achieve results close to PCR tests.
According to the latest statistics of the Tunisian Health Ministry, the annual number of breast cancer cases among women exceeds 3,000 while experts predict in 2024 that number will rise to more than 4,000.
*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara