Does cancer have a smell??

I am a recent breast cancer survivor, diagnosed with Triple Negative BC in late January of this year. About a month prior to knowing about the tumor, I seemed to be surrounded by a foul odor. Soooo paranoid about the odor, I was constantly asking my friends and family if they smelled the odor one did. After I started chemo, the odor disappeared. I never really associated the cancer with the strange smells. I had a bilateral mastectomy in July of this year, and am now cancer free. About 4 days ago, the smell came back. It seems like it's coming from my body, but I am clean!! LOL! My husband doesn't smell anything around or on me, and neither does anyone else. I've never heard of cancer having a "smell", and it's possible I'm just paranoid about everything now...anyone have any thoughts or ideas?


  • abrub
    abrub Member Posts: 2,174 Member
    It has been shown that dogs can be trained to smell cancer.
    If you are super-sensitive to smells, then you may be sensing something. If recent tests show you are clean, you may want to see if you can be checked a bit more frequently than the norm if the scent persists.

    Other possibility - I know that my senses, which were already hyperacute, became moreso after chemo. Sounds, smells, tastes are much more intense to me than to most people. You may just be hyper-sensitive to normal smells. Plus, as women, our sense of smell varies with our hormone shifts.

    Just some thoughts.
  • laughs_a_lot
    laughs_a_lot Member Posts: 1,368 Member
    Abrub is right that some dogs can detect cancer. Some know thier owners have cancer prior to thier diagnosis. I would trust your instincts on this one. Yes there are some people who get olfactory halucinations but they are extremely rare and I do not think you have this. Chemo does a lot to effect taste. Taste and smell are very closely related. I really like the former advice to check it out if the odor does not dissapear.
  • Rague
    Rague Member Posts: 3,653 Member
    Animals are intuitive!
    Not sure if they can 'smell' cancer (or many other 'problems') but some animals are a lot more intuitive than they are given credit to often.
    I'm IBC which comes on fast - my OLD Gordon Setter (Reg and from the local HS) started being more 'in my face' and basically never left my side til after TX was over and his time tp go. Originally I thought that as old as he was at the time, it was him trying to tell me about him. Hubby's Lil Girl (mixed breed) started staying away from me more - she never 'liked me anyway'. Looking back now - the horses were also telling me 'something' was going on probably.

    "Smell" - not sure I think that. I do believe that SOME animals do tell us so much in so many ways!

    Winyan -The. Power Within

  • LoveBabyJesus
    LoveBabyJesus Member Posts: 1,679 Member
    I always wonder...
    the same exact thing! I had an order that was really odd too. Couldn't even explain what it was like. Just odd. Coming from inside. And I always questioned if it was my cancer. Also stopped after chemo. Now I it wants to come back, but it isn't there just yet. And I hope it never comes back. That smell was something else!

    Have you tried using different soaps? What kind of clothing do you use? Are the clothes usually tight to lose?

    I hope you find peace with this and you don't get too worried. But ask your Dr. if it really bothers you.

  • RozHopkins
    RozHopkins Member Posts: 578 Member
    Dog story
    Had one side mastectomy and while waiting for results on material from the other side after breast reduction, my little dog on my knee turned around and gave one lick on the side awaiting results. I knew immediately I had cancer and did. My other little dog, same type, told me by scratching we had termites in a wall.

    The smell of the drains was horrible I remember. The taste in my mouth not good during chemo, also going to bathroom as releasing chemicals.
  • kacee999
    kacee999 Member Posts: 110
    Don't think you're weird....
    I've been dealing with smells too, since before being diagnosed. ((I remember when I had my appendix out as a kid, being on tons of intraveinous antibiotics (it burst) for a week and noticing a HUGE smell around me. That one was obvious.)) But for the last three years I have gone through having smells. Not necessarily BAD smells...just odd. Like one I had for a long time was kindof sweet. I would ask people around me if they smelled it, no one did. I smelled my skin and didn't smell was "in the air". I even wondered at one point if I could have a tumor of some kind on an olfactory organ in my body, cause freak smells to appear. I still don't know what causes them. Had a lot of freaky smells during chemo, but I still from time to time seem to smell something different. Have considered going to an ENT to ask about it...
  • ksf56
    ksf56 Member Posts: 202
    I see that this is your first post and want to welcome you to the site. Sorry we have to meet this way.

    Your question about smell really started me thinking. I don't have a very good sense of smell at all - close to none. I've missed out on alot of beautiful smells (from what I hear) but also, really nasty ones too. I can't smell barns - pig or cow - natural gas (not a safe one to not smell) and so on. I swear I could smell this disease. I know I could smell something - almost like it was an internal smell. I would ask my husband if he smelled something unusual about me often. He would always tell me he couldn't smell anything. I thought I was stinky and that made me paranoid. Of course, my husband rolling his eyes at me when I asked got me to stop asking.

    This would be interesting to see if this happened more than we think. I have seen shows about dogs detecting cancer. My dog is around me all the time - I didn't notice if she paid more attention to me or not. I also didn't know when the cancer developed and she might have started hanging out more at the time. Who knows?

    Thanks for your question!

    Take care!
  • disneyfan2008
    disneyfan2008 Member Posts: 6,583 Member
    I have seen on tv dogs that
    I have seen on tv dogs that are trained to sniff out cancer...NOT sure it legit or not...but i thought only dogs could sense it..

    Have you asked your Dr?

  • AngieD
    AngieD Member Posts: 493

    I have seen on tv dogs that
    I have seen on tv dogs that are trained to sniff out cancer...NOT sure it legit or not...but i thought only dogs could sense it..

    Have you asked your Dr?


    Just read this on Cancer
    Just read this on Cancer Compass and it seems to apply to this discussion:

    WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- If colon cancer screening was as easy as taking a breath, more people might do it. Now, a small pilot study suggests such a test could be developed.

    The study, of 78 people with and without colon cancer, found that those with the disease tended to have a distinct pattern of chemicals in their breath. And when researchers analyzed the study participants' breath samples, they correctly identified the colon cancer patients 76 percent of the time.

    The findings, reported online Dec. 5 in the British Journal of Surgery, sound good. But if you're waiting for your doctor to offer such a test, don't hold your breath.
  • New Flower
    New Flower Member Posts: 4,294
    I agree
    I agree that my sweat had a different odor both times. My second time around my husband thought I am paranoid about cancer. There is an explanation for it often cancer change our micro flora . To put yourself at peace please talk to your oncologist and request additional test.
    Keep us posted
    New Flower