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Canine olfactory detection of malignant melanoma
  1. Leon Frederick Campbell1,
  2. Luke Farmery2,
  3. Susannah Mary Creighton George3,
  4. Paul B J Farrant3
  1. 1Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton, UK
  2. 2Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Chichester, UK
  3. 3Department of Dermatology, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Leon Frederick Campbell, leoncampbell{at}


Our patient is a 75-year-old man who presented after his pet dog licked persistently at an asymptomatic lesion behind his right ear. Examination revealed a nodular lesion in the postauricular sulcus. Histology confirmed malignant melanoma, which was subsequently excised. Canine olfactory detection of human malignancy is a well-documented phenomenon. Advanced olfaction is hypothesised to explain canine detection of bladder, breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers. Further research in this area may facilitate the development of a highly accurate aid to diagnosis for many malignancies, including melanoma.

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