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Does cancer have a certain smell?

 
Concerned
User ID: 456627
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06/23/2008 02:32 AM
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Does cancer have a certain smell?
The reason that I ask is because I've noticed lately that my husband has a different type of smell. It's as if his body chemistry has changed or something. I can't really describe the smell, but I'm hoping that one of you know what I'm talking about.
Anonymous Coward
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06/23/2008 02:35 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Almonds.
Anonymous Coward
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06/23/2008 02:36 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Why would you jump to such a morbid conclusion? Assuming it's not just your imagination, it's probably just a change in his diet or something. If you're really concerned, get him screened.
Concerned (OP)
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06/23/2008 02:41 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Almonds.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 456476

Almonds? Really?
C.
User ID: 456383
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06/23/2008 02:45 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Why would you jump to such a morbid conclusion? Assuming it's not just your imagination, it's probably just a change in his diet or something. If you're really concerned, get him screened.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 456621


Exactly.
Concerned (OP)
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06/23/2008 02:50 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Why would you jump to such a morbid conclusion? Assuming it's not just your imagination, it's probably just a change in his diet or something. If you're really concerned, get him screened.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 456621

I know it must have sounded like a morbid conclusion. But, it's not. It has been a few months now and at first I thought it was his diet, or something that he was doing different. But, I'm beginning to think that something isn't right with his health. He's not the type that would let on or complain at all. So, of course, he's not talking!

I'm going to talk to him about getting checked out. But, he isn't the type that goes to the doctor. So, this is going to be a chore!
Anonymous Coward
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06/23/2008 02:53 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Try talking to a few doctors and explain to them what you think. Well, good luck, and I hope everything works out.
C.
User ID: 456383
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06/23/2008 02:57 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Why would you jump to such a morbid conclusion? Assuming it's not just your imagination, it's probably just a change in his diet or something. If you're really concerned, get him screened.

I know it must have sounded like a morbid conclusion. But, it's not. It has been a few months now and at first I thought it was his diet, or something that he was doing different. But, I'm beginning to think that something isn't right with his health. He's not the type that would let on or complain at all. So, of course, he's not talking!

I'm going to talk to him about getting checked out. But, he isn't the type that goes to the doctor. So, this is going to be a chore!
 Quoting: Concerned 456627


So WTF are you smelling??? I know what rain smells like. Is it something like that? That's the only analogy I can think of.
[^.^] vishuz!

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06/23/2008 02:58 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Can you like.. describe this scent that you are sensing.. please?
The blackening of roses will send you to the edges of the land/
The emerald tablets of Thoth the Atlantean/
The hands of the mighty Lion of Judah/
Will throw you through the triangular portals of Bermuda/
Exploring the Hologramic aspects of consciousness/
Anonymous Coward
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06/23/2008 02:58 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
A chiropractor told me that he can smell the difference when patients get certain types of cancer. He didn't describe it though.

Lots of things could cause body chemistry/odor changes. Auto-immune issues, some infections, exposure to chemicals or changes in diet can all cause a difference.

Can't hurt to get him in for a check up.
Though it can be hard to get some men to notice subtle changes in bowel, body pains or other signals, try to get him to pay attention for a few days. Any anomalies noted will help your physician know to take a closer look.
Anonymous Coward
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06/23/2008 02:59 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
The reason that I ask is because I've noticed lately that my husband has a different type of smell. It's as if his body chemistry has changed or something. I can't really describe the smell, but I'm hoping that one of you know what I'm talking about.
 Quoting: Concerned 456627



There's a definite chance, as some dogs seem to be able to locate cancerous spots on people.

Hard to quantify though.




-
Concerned (OP)
User ID: 456627
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06/23/2008 03:04 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Try talking to a few doctors and explain to them what you think. Well, good luck, and I hope everything works out.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 456621

Thanks. A friend of mine works at the hospital and she is going to ask some doctors tomorrow what would cause such a drastic change in his body chemistry.

We've been married for 17 years. If there's one thing I know after 17 years, it's the way my husband smells.
C.
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06/23/2008 03:09 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Try talking to a few doctors and explain to them what you think. Well, good luck, and I hope everything works out.

Thanks. A friend of mine works at the hospital and she is going to ask some doctors tomorrow what would cause such a drastic change in his body chemistry.

We've been married for 17 years. If there's one thing I know after 17 years, it's the way my husband smells.
 Quoting: Concerned 456627


Yeah, that's true. But you're jumping crazy. Jeez, maybe he's just aging or eating too much garlic. The scare tactics at work. Relax.
We're not all gonna die today.
Concerned (OP)
User ID: 456627
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06/23/2008 03:18 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
vishuz!]
Can you like.. describe this scent that you are sensing.. please?
 Quoting:

Ok, I will try to describe it. It's like a "very strong" smelling "sour milk" type of smell. It's hard to describe.
Concerned (OP)
User ID: 456627
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06/23/2008 03:20 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
A chiropractor told me that he can smell the difference when patients get certain types of cancer. He didn't describe it though.

Lots of things could cause body chemistry/odor changes. Auto-immune issues, some infections, exposure to chemicals or changes in diet can all cause a difference.

Can't hurt to get him in for a check up.
Though it can be hard to get some men to notice subtle changes in bowel, body pains or other signals, try to get him to pay attention for a few days. Any anomalies noted will help your physician know to take a closer look.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 455159

Thanks for the advice.
Anonymous Coward
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06/23/2008 03:20 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
My brother had a bad kind of cancer and went untreated for 10 years. He agreed to go to the emergencey room for a bad cough (we thought he might have had pnuemonia) which led to lots of testing and evaluations. Basically it was everywhere and he lived only 3 months after that. He did have a very strong oder he would also wear a strong cologne but nothing could mask it. I have on occassion smelled that scent on other people and I know they are sick. My mother also had cancer that went untreated for many years - I didn't notice any scent with her. The hygene practices were vastly different between them.

IF he is willing to go to the doctor - get him there! There are lots of ailments very easily treated at the get go but can morph into bigger problems if left alone.

I found this article if it helps:

[link to www.school-for-champions.com]

When Doctors Used to Smell
by Ron Kurtus (revised 25 May 2003)

At one time, family physicians used their sense of smell to help diagnose the illness or disease of a patient. That practice has gone by the wayside in the past years. Perhaps it would be a good idea if doctors would learn and use this technique again.

Questions you may have include:

How did doctors use smell to detect illnesses?
Why did the practice disappear?
What advantages can it have over modern techniques?
This lesson will answer those questions. There is a mini-quiz near the end of the lesson. Health Disclaimer

Smelling disease
When you are sick or have some ailment, your body chemistry changes in order to fight the illness or as a response to some disorder. Changes in body chemistry can be detected in the blood, urine and perspiration of the person.

A sick person's urine and perspiration have distinct odors that are different than normal.

Can smell what you ate
The smell of your urine and perspiration are also affected by what you eat and drink. For example, after eating asparagus, your urine gets very smelly. Also, you can smell the distinct odor coming from a person who has been drinking alcohol excessively the night before.

Mothers know their babies
Test have been done to show that were able to identify their babies, simply by the child's smell. Also, a mother can often tell if her baby is sick by smell.

Doctors smelled their patients
Family doctors used to be able to tell what ails a patient by including how the person smelled, during the examination. (Of course, this was also done in the times when doctors actually made house calls.) Ailments result in the body giving off distinct odors. For example, apparently liver problems result in an almond odor.

Modern techniques
The present techniques to determine what ailment a person has consists of a cursory exam and then a series of chemical tests, perhaps along with x-rays and other high technology examinations.

Not all aids used
During the physical exam, the doctor may ask questions and look and touch areas of concern. This is where using smell to aid in the examination seems to have diminished or gone away completely. One reason is that doctors are not taught this technique in school anymore.

Dependence on measurements
There is a much greater dependence on laboratory measurements to determine results. This standardizes the examinations and also relieves the doctor of liability due to faulty judgment.

Unfortunately, dependence on laboratory results may often miss other indicators that can point to an ailment. Diagnosis of disease and other human problems is somewhat of a science, but it is so complex that in reality it is an art.

Advantages of using smell
It is obvious that including using the smell of a person as an aid to diagnosis can only help the accuracy. But there is another advantage.

The medical profession has become so impersonal that perhaps using something like smelling the patient can help to bring together a closer doctor-patient relationship.

Summary
People smell different when sick, and doctors used to include how the patient smelled as part of their examinations. Presently, diagnosis is dependent in on lab results. Including how a person smells in the diagnosis of an ailment not only would improve accuracy, but it would also improve the doctor-patient relationship.

Answers to Readers' Questions


-------------------------------------------------------------​-------------------

Maintain your health by being aware of yourself
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 436789
United States
06/23/2008 03:22 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Ammonia
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 456641
United States
06/23/2008 03:25 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
You guys obviously have never had a very close signifigant other. Probably no signifigant others to speak of.

Anyway, men and women who are in close contact for some time can very often pick up a pleasant smell from the other partner which I believe has to do with "sexual chemistry".

I've had 2 women tell me they pick this up from me, while I didn't pick it up from them. 1 woman, whom I am now married to, can pick this up from me while I pick it up from her as well. It is a very good smell, almost sweet but not. It is indescribable actually.

I'd say what your smelling on your husband may be something to be concerned about actually.
Wasayo nli
User ID: 456644
United States
06/23/2008 03:29 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Yes, cancer does have a certain smell from what I've heard, and dogs can detect it. We have one dog who has cancer, and all of the others are constantly sniffing him.

Years ago, I had a girlfriend who had breast cancer. We all went out to lunch, and as she turned to speak with me, I smelled the most horrible scent coming from deep within her throat.

It smelled like dead, rotting meat and once you smell something like that, you never forget it. I knew right then that she was dying.

We helped her go to a wheat grass clinic, and she lasted 3 more years.

OP, I hope your husband turns out to be okay. I sure do understand your worrying about this. Wasayo
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 456621
United States
06/23/2008 03:33 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Before you start freaking out about these last few posts, remember what kind of message board this is. Take everything with a grain of salt. But since this is such a serious matter, I would certainly try to get him screened or at least just see a doctor.
Concerned (OP)
User ID: 456627
United States
06/23/2008 03:35 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
My brother had a bad kind of cancer and went untreated for 10 years. He agreed to go to the emergencey room for a bad cough (we thought he might have had pnuemonia) which led to lots of testing and evaluations. Basically it was everywhere and he lived only 3 months after that. He did have a very strong oder he would also wear a strong cologne but nothing could mask it. I have on occassion smelled that scent on other people and I know they are sick. My mother also had cancer that went untreated for many years - I didn't notice any scent with her. The hygene practices were vastly different between them.

IF he is willing to go to the doctor - get him there! There are lots of ailments very easily treated at the get go but can morph into bigger problems if left alone.

I found this article if it helps:

[link to www.school-for-champions.com]

When Doctors Used to Smell
by Ron Kurtus (revised 25 May 2003)

At one time, family physicians used their sense of smell to help diagnose the illness or disease of a patient. That practice has gone by the wayside in the past years. Perhaps it would be a good idea if doctors would learn and use this technique again.

Questions you may have include:

How did doctors use smell to detect illnesses?
Why did the practice disappear?
What advantages can it have over modern techniques?
This lesson will answer those questions. There is a mini-quiz near the end of the lesson. Health Disclaimer

Smelling disease
When you are sick or have some ailment, your body chemistry changes in order to fight the illness or as a response to some disorder. Changes in body chemistry can be detected in the blood, urine and perspiration of the person.

A sick person's urine and perspiration have distinct odors that are different than normal.

Can smell what you ate
The smell of your urine and perspiration are also affected by what you eat and drink. For example, after eating asparagus, your urine gets very smelly. Also, you can smell the distinct odor coming from a person who has been drinking alcohol excessively the night before.

Mothers know their babies
Test have been done to show that were able to identify their babies, simply by the child's smell. Also, a mother can often tell if her baby is sick by smell.

Doctors smelled their patients
Family doctors used to be able to tell what ails a patient by including how the person smelled, during the examination. (Of course, this was also done in the times when doctors actually made house calls.) Ailments result in the body giving off distinct odors. For example, apparently liver problems result in an almond odor.

Modern techniques
The present techniques to determine what ailment a person has consists of a cursory exam and then a series of chemical tests, perhaps along with x-rays and other high technology examinations.

Not all aids used
During the physical exam, the doctor may ask questions and look and touch areas of concern. This is where using smell to aid in the examination seems to have diminished or gone away completely. One reason is that doctors are not taught this technique in school anymore.

Dependence on measurements
There is a much greater dependence on laboratory measurements to determine results. This standardizes the examinations and also relieves the doctor of liability due to faulty judgment.

Unfortunately, dependence on laboratory results may often miss other indicators that can point to an ailment. Diagnosis of disease and other human problems is somewhat of a science, but it is so complex that in reality it is an art.

Advantages of using smell
It is obvious that including using the smell of a person as an aid to diagnosis can only help the accuracy. But there is another advantage.

The medical profession has become so impersonal that perhaps using something like smelling the patient can help to bring together a closer doctor-patient relationship.

Summary
People smell different when sick, and doctors used to include how the patient smelled as part of their examinations. Presently, diagnosis is dependent in on lab results. Including how a person smells in the diagnosis of an ailment not only would improve accuracy, but it would also improve the doctor-patient relationship.

Answers to Readers' Questions


-------------------------------------------------------------​-------------------

Maintain your health by being aware of yourself
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 413801

Sorry to hear about your brother & Mom.

That was a very interesting article you found. Thank you!

I've always been able to tell if my children have strep throat (before I even look for the white on the tonsils) by the smell. Strep throat has a very unique smell.

I can't imagine cancer "not" having a smell.

Whatever my husband has going on in his body, I'm sure he needs to get checked out. Something has definitely changed!Maybe it isn't anything to worry about, but, I'd rather him get checked out to be on the safe side.
Concerned (OP)
User ID: 456627
United States
06/23/2008 03:42 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
You guys obviously have never had a very close signifigant other. Probably no signifigant others to speak of.

Anyway, men and women who are in close contact for some time can very often pick up a pleasant smell from the other partner which I believe has to do with "sexual chemistry".

I've had 2 women tell me they pick this up from me, while I didn't pick it up from them. 1 woman, whom I am now married to, can pick this up from me while I pick it up from her as well. It is a very good smell, almost sweet but not. It is indescribable actually.

I'd say what your smelling on your husband may be something to be concerned about actually.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 456641

Very well said. Thank you!

What some people don't seem to understand is this...When you spend that much time with a loved one, you know their "smell" so to speak. When all of a sudden it changes drastically, it is something to be concerned about.
Concerned (OP)
User ID: 456627
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06/23/2008 03:46 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Yes, cancer does have a certain smell from what I've heard, and dogs can detect it. We have one dog who has cancer, and all of the others are constantly sniffing him.

Years ago, I had a girlfriend who had breast cancer. We all went out to lunch, and as she turned to speak with me, I smelled the most horrible scent coming from deep within her throat.

It smelled like dead, rotting meat and once you smell something like that, you never forget it. I knew right then that she was dying.

We helped her go to a wheat grass clinic, and she lasted 3 more years.

OP, I hope your husband turns out to be okay. I sure do understand your worrying about this. Wasayo
 Quoting: Wasayo nli 456644

Thanks for responding Wasayo. I'm sorry to hear about your girlfriend. (and your dog that has cancer)

Thanks for your concern. I'm glad some of you understand what I'm talking about!
Concerned (OP)
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06/23/2008 03:55 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Before you start freaking out about these last few posts, remember what kind of message board this is. Take everything with a grain of salt. But since this is such a serious matter, I would certainly try to get him screened or at least just see a doctor.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 456621

Don't worry, I'm not freaking out, just concerned.

I'm going to mention the change in his body chemistry to him and see if he is having some other symptoms. Like I said earlier, he isn't one to complain, AT ALL! So, if I don't notice these types of things, he won't tell me.
Anonymous Coward
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06/23/2008 04:17 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
I hope all goes well. You sound very in tune with your husband and if he is ill it is probably very early and very treatable.

I don't want to scare anyone with my post. I would like to clarifiy that my family members knew they had cancer and chose not to treat. It took approximately 10 years in both cases.

My father at 80 just finished chemo for yet another type of cancer - and he is fine! Thank God for a sane fasther who listens to doctors and follows advice! His ordeal took 3 months - his hair grew back and he is gardening and tincker with as much vigor as ever! Cancer doesn't have to be the end - it is very often treatable. I am so proud of my Dad!
Mostly Me
...there is no you

User ID: 452724
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06/23/2008 04:18 AM

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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Don't be too alarmed. It could be any number of things. I would think that if a person had cancer or some other serious illness, there would be more symptoms. I would think the cancer would have to be very bad for you to smell it, and yet, I have never noticed a smell from cancer patients until they started chemotherapy.

There are so many things that could cause a change in smell. Change of diet, environment, activity, etc. Those changes in smell are much more predominant and easier to notice.

The sour milk smell sounds a little like he has been perspirating and hasn't showered since then. Maybe he has picked up exercising or his job has caused him to be more physical.

Whatever it turns out to be, I hope it works out.
Here is where I look back.
Here is where you fell.
This is where I got up,
Shaking off my tail
This is where your rope trick
Started to look stale.
A greyhound pass for the boy in the well.

Anonymous Coward
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New Zealand
06/23/2008 04:50 AM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
An absessed tooth can have this smell !
Guest
User ID: 718942
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07/05/2009 06:43 PM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
I remember my grandmother having a very strong smell of feces when she had cancer. That was years ago
Anonymous Coward
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07/05/2009 06:49 PM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Could be lots of things -- not necessarily a disease process. Taking a new drug/vitamin, change of soap/shampoo/deodorant, a change of diet can affect body chemistry/odor.
Anonymous Coward
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07/05/2009 06:51 PM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
Yes. I had two siblings die of cancer. They smelled different before they passed away!
Anonymous Coward
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07/05/2009 06:51 PM
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Re: Does cancer have a certain smell?
NO ! Two of my family members both have/had cancer.

I fatal - (near death any day)....very sad...

The other a survivor...

Neither one of them have any smell what-so-ever.....

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