A news story about a woman who swam with dolphins and was somehow inspired to visit a doctor who identified a cancer tumor, has speculated a dolphin might have helped. A Panama City Beach, Florida woman went on a dolphin cruise and once in the water with about 15 dolphins something strange happened. One male dolphin stayed near her and even bumped her. Then it did a flip in front of her.
She told the dolphin trainer what had happened and he asked her if she was sick and if the dolphin swim as one of her last wishes. She said no and replied with the same answer when he asked if she had cancer.
After she returned home she notice a pain in her chest and decided to go to a doctor after remembering the dolphin encounter. The doctor found a tumor in one of her lungs, which she had treated. The woman credits the dolphin with helping her get checked out and saving her life. She plans to visit him in the British Virgin Islands again.
While it seems likely that the dolphin’s behavior towards the sick women was merely a coincidence and that we may have a tendency to read too much into such a situation, how exactly do we know dolphins don’t have abilities we don’t yet understand?
An Emory University researcher said there is no connection, “Despite the mythology, there is no evidence that dolphins can detect cancers and other diseases in the human body. Why was the dolphin ramming the woman and getting excited? It could be for a number of reasons—agitation, play, but none of them show the dolphin detected the cancer.” (Source: Takepart)
Reportedly, the dolphin from the British Islands is kept in captivity. If it becomes a widespread belief that dolphins can help detect cancer, the number of dolphins held in captivity might grow. Some people are already concerned dolphins held in captivity are being subjected to abuse and cruelty, so adding more would only make the situation worse.
What’s more puzzling is that there are better ways to detect cancer and ones that are far less dramatic – simply getting regular checkups and tests.
There are probably more cases of dolphins butting into humans they swim with where there was no cancer or any illness. Hopefully, this one news account won’t cause humans to abuse dolphins anymore than they are currently.