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CAN-Sirs Corner

by Pete Davignon

reprinted with permission from Senior Softball News

Advances in Cancer Detection with Dogs

Spring 2016 Edition

Specialized training dogs are now taking center stage in the battle to win the war on cancer. This bright new technique of training dogs to detect cancer at its earliest stages has been a passion for Dina Zaphiris, founder and chief executive officer of InSitu Foundation. She has been training dogs for 23 years.

She has specialized training dogs in medical scent detection, missing persons' detection as well as in searching for bombs and narcotics.

A dog's sense of smell is 100,000 times more acute than humans and they can provide a low-cost method of screening for cancer. The success of her program would be a major addition to the diagnostic approach to detecting cancer. Training and testing of her dogs has resulted in a 98 percent positive identification of cancer cells in clinical trials. It takes six to eight months to train and certify a cancer detection dog. Dogs do not sniff an actual person but samples such as breath, plasma, urine, and saliva.

Zaphiris has been working with major universities and cancer centers to develop the first medical protocol for the selection, training, and handling of medical scent dogs. Currently, only a certified doctor can use the protocol and provisions have not been developed for clinical cancer detection by dogs. At present, her dogs can detect breast cancer, prostate cancer and rectal cancer. Training is underway to detect other cancers. She is in the process of training dogs to detect other diseases and medical conditions that can be detected by small. Her successes have drawn the attention and inquiries of the worldwide medical community.

Zaphiris has her training facilities in Chico, Calif. InSitu has an informative website that everyone should take the time to go to for interesting and educational details on the types of dogs used, the methods of training, and the future of canine cancer detection.

You can find out more about the cancer detecting dogs and consider making a donation to her cancer detection program by contacting: Dina Zaphiris, InSitu Foundation, P.O. Box 3040 Chico, CA 95927. Email

I was fortunate to have met Dina at a cancer support group at the Enloe Cancer Center in Chico. In our constant search for ways to promote cancer awareness and prevention, we hope to work with Dina promoting her work. She is working with her husband to fulfill a dream by training dogs for all types of detection in the medical field.


Dina is available for speaking engagements. Her talks are professional, interesting, and easy to understand. If you have an organization that would like to have her visit. contact her at her email address.

Back on the Field


We senior softball players are now back on the field. During this past year, several senior softball players have died and more have been diagnosed with cancer. When having to deal with cancer, comradery is important and will help with recovery. CAN-Sirs wishes to thank all our supporters for their kindness and financial assistance to our program.


This year Senior Softball USA and CAN-Sirs have joined together to hold the CalCup tournament and the CAN-Sirs benefit tournament as one event on May 10-15 in Sacramento and Elk Grove.

You can reach us at and visit the CAN-Sirs website at Your financial support is welcome. You can donate through PayPal or 2485 Notre Dame Blvd #370-180, Chico, CA 95928.


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