13/04/2016 11:28 BST

Breast Cancer Survivor Claims Her Dog Saved Her Life By 'Sniffing Out' Disease

'I know it sounds unbelievable but Marley had been acting really strangely.'

A dog owner claims her beloved pet saved her life - by sniffing out her breast cancer

Lisa Johnson, 37, started to feel unwell and noticed her 10-year-old Bull Terrier Marley refusing to leave her side and barking whenever she stood up. 

After weeks of pestering, the mum-of-three decided to go for a check-up and doctors discovered a lump on her right breast. 

She was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy which shrunk the tumour.

Nottingham Post /
Lisa Johnson with her dog Marley

Lisa, from Nuthall, Nottingham, took notice of Marley's attentiveness after the pooch displayed the same behaviour when she was pregnant with all three of her children. 

She said: "I know it sounds unbelievable but Marley had been acting really strangely. 

"She wouldn't leave me alone and she's not usually like that, she's normally very independent and not that interest in you. 

"Everywhere I went she came with me. She would clamp herself next to me when I was in the kitchen, she'd come sit next to me on the bed.

"The only time she had got like that before is when I was pregnant. She got so protective before I found out I was pregnant with my eldest, Thea. 

"With my next two, as soon as Marley started acting that way I went and got a pregnancy test and it was positive. My third child was unexpected, but Marley still knew."
Lisa's during one of her chemotherapy treatments in August 2015

Lisa added: "It sounds bonkers I know, but she sniffed it out all three pregnancies at about four weeks. 

"But this time I knew I was not pregnant so I just didn't understand why she was acting this way. 

"Something didn't feel right. I told my husband something was wrong. She was acting like it for a month, so I decided to check myself for cancer. 

"When I did I found a lump on my breast, I couldn't believe it." 

Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2015 and immediately started chemotherapy and in May had an operation to remove the lump. 

She has now been told she is in remission after a year's treatment.  

Tristan Potter /
Lisa Johnson with her dog Marley and children Thea (7), Effy (5) and Freddie (3)

Lisa, who lives with husband Chris, 30, an electrician, added: "I know I sound like a hippy, or a lunatic but my dog helped me on my way to finding out. 

"I think she can smell out the hormones on my breath or something, as that would explain how she could detect my cancer and my pregnancies. 

"Ever since the cancer has been treated, Marley has gone back to normal. It's like she's done her job. 

"It sounds completely unbelievable, but she really does seem to have a sixth sense. She saved my life." 

Dr Anne Carter, senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University's school of animal, rural and environmental sciences, said: "There have been cases where dogs have been known to sniff out and detect cancer in their owners. 

"If it's been part of the family for a long time, the dog can often be looking at natural changes that occur in their owners." 

An NHS trial is currently under way to prove the principle that medical detection dogs can find breast cancer and have the potential to diagnose other cancers, such as those of the prostate and lung. 

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