Smelling Cancer? - page 5

One of my nursing instructors told our class that she has acquired a smell for cancer, and when she walks in a room she can tell immediately if a patient has cancer. :confused: Do nurses... Read More

  1. by   Hygiene Queen
    I think it's sickly sweet. I never associated it strictly with cancer, but you can smell a distinct odor when someone is "shutting down".
    We had a patient admitted to psych. She should have been in hospice.
    Not only did this pt look like she was in the process of dying, but I could smell it.
    The pt was d/c'd from psych and put on hospice (where she belonged!) and died very shortly, thereafter.
    Interestingly, not everyone could smell it and some staff thought that those who smelled it were nuts!
  2. by   Hygiene Queen
    Quote from steelcityrn
    I just noticed this was a old
    Oh, for the love of Pete!
    I didn't catch that.
  3. by   susanthomas1954
    I also can smell cancer. Noticed it in my first CNA job back in 1973. To me, the smell has changed over the years. I also believe that at least 50% of practicing nurses can see diseases in auras and we just keep it to ourselves, but I am sure you notice when you and a co-worker agree on a diagnosis with absolutely no clinical data whatsoever. Too bad more docs can't admit they can do this too, and then we could move to the next level of care.
  4. by   susanthomas1954
    My cat insists on lying on any part of my body that hurts. All night long. It's like she seems to absorb the pain, maybe even thrive on it. WEIRD, as that happened with my last cat (Who was 17 when she died.) She did it to both kids when they were at home as well. Spooky.....
  5. by   madfowl
    I can smell cancer. I have worked for years in oncology, and have acquired it. It is ok guys to give credit where it is due.
  6. by   BozNurse
    When I was studying nursing (in Italy) we had a neoplastic patient who occupied a room where the smell was so strong it was nauseating. From that experience I spot the smell extremely frequently in patients. I think the illness is well-established before the smell reaches the human smell threshold and I would say that the smell gets stronger as the illness progresses. I would say that the majority of experienced nurse colleagues agree that cancer gives off a recognisable smell. I would say that most people who have shared an environment with a cancer patient for a substantial amount of time will have developed an awareness for the characteristic smell. Olfactory memory is very strong and long lasting and even after years somebody who has experienced the smell can realize, if they find themselves in contact with the smell again, that they know the smell it may lead them to realize that it's the smell of cancer. The research using dogs makes perfect sense for the very reason that their acute olfactory abilities can allow a dog to detect the smell better and thus earlier on in the illness than a human may be expected to. Unfortunately in medicine there are enourmous interests so although dogs may very well be an excellent means of detecting illness, they are not a good enough business if compared to conventional screening/diagnostic methods. It is thus probable that, behind the excuse of dogs being un-scientific, the method will never be adopted. If dog-detection of human neoplastic illnesses was implemented it would be a perfect example of "complementary medicine" where conventional and unconventional medical practices can be combined for a better, common goal. (Nurse from Italy).
  7. by   learninglessons12
    I noticed certain smells. Working in Neuro there is a distinct smell that comes from the neuro patients who have any opening in their head. It's the brain smell. And people with liver tumors or cancer have a certain smell that is unimaginable. Just my personal observation, nothing scientific explanation behind it.
  8. by   xtxrn
    Death breath, definitely....usually 24hrs max left....
  9. by   DoGoodThenGo
    In the book "Nurse", staff attended a funeral for a long term patient who died of cancer. As the nurses were leaving the service they all turned and said to each other "it smelled like her"; that is the whiff around the casket and body was the same they each had smelled whilst taking care of the dying woman.
  10. by   RobJS

    For the past few weeks I have noticed a strange smell on myself. It seems to be coming from inside of me. After doing some searching, I ran across the "cancer smell". This "smell" seems very similar to what I am smelling on myself (or in myself). I actually sort or "taste" it, as though it is coming from my stomach; when I breath out (such as when you make the Hmmm sound, I almost taste the "smell"). Anyway, I was wondering if someone could try to describe the cancer smell for me.

    It is hard for me to describe. I think I notice the "sweetness" that people talk about, combined with a disgusting putrid smell. When I first noticed it, it was very faint and I thought it almost smelled like mold, but not exactly. The smell is usually very faint (although it was stronger one day last week). I also noticed that it faded for a day or two, before returning.

    Any additional info. on the smell would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
  11. by   madwife2002
    This is an old thread I will close