In a visit to a cancer research center on Tuesday, President Biden seemingly proclaimed that dogs could help cure cancer, setting off a debate on social media and elsewhere over the “cure’ versus “smell” attribution as well as comparisons to former President Trump.
“By the way, dogs may help cure cancer,” Biden declared. “Not a joke. Dogs are able to … they’re using dogs now … to smell cancer in people’s legs, in people’s bodies, not a joke, it’s a fascinating thing.”
Although the statement was somewhat confusing, it has been noted that dogs can smell cancer in humans. But curing the disease is in the realm of physicians, not dogs. Although it is well known that Biden loves dogs, he may have given them a bit more credit than warranted here.
Biden was speaking to reporters and medical experts while touring the James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio when he made the minor faux pas.
(Video Credit: The Hill)
In 2019, a study detailed how dogs could pick out cancerous blood samples by smell. They are also reportedly used by research teams to detect cancer in individuals. Pets such as dogs and cats have long been thought to sense the disease in their owners and have at times acted as an early warning system for cancer.
Dr. Arnab Chakravarti, who is the chair of the radiology and oncology department at Ohio State University, briefed the president on their progress.
Biden was impressed with the technological advancement towards curing cancer.
“It’s mostly hopeful because I don’t want to see anybody go through what my son did,” Biden said in reference to his son Beau and his death due to the disease. Then the president launched into recounting how devastating radiation treatment was for his son during treatment. Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015.
“The use of radiation is a very complex thing, my son underwent it, radiation is a complicated deal … radiation kills all of the bad things but also kills any good things it comes into contact with,” the president noted.
On Twitter, Biden’s seeming overstatement did not get the same brutal treatment as Trump did when he made certain claims connected to the coronavirus.
“Remember when every[one] took trump as serious as can be when he said injecting bleach can cure covid,” one commenter wrote on Twitter. “let’s all have that same energy toward Biden saying dogs may help cure cancer….some studies suggest they can detect blood cancer in legs, but that is farrrrrrr from curing joe.”
Remember when every took trump as serious as can be when he said injecting bleach can cure covid…let’s all have that same energy toward Biden saying dogs may help cure cancer…some studies suggest they can detect blood cancer in legs, but that is farrrrrr from curing joe🙃
— Rock (@ZOSH_point_OH) March 25, 2021
“Trump: light rays may cure viruses. Media: 25th Amendment, he’s gone mad,” another Twitter user stated, highlighting the difference in treatment by the media of the two presidents. “Biden: dogs can cure cancer. Media: Fact check TRUE! Hero!”
Trump: light rays may cure viruses.
Media: 25th Amendment, he's gone mad
Biden: dogs can cure cancer.
Media: Fact check TRUE! Hero!
— Yossi Schlussel (@YossiSchlussel) March 24, 2021
“They’ve been training dogs to smell cancer in people and for years,” a commenter snarked noting that this was nothing new. “Read a book.”
They’ve been training dogs to smell cancer in people and for years. Read a book.
— Zach ™ (@zsanford1) March 24, 2021
Biden previously posited that he could be the “president to preside over the end of cancer as we know it.” This photo-op was probably meant to bolster that claim.
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