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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Cancer (also called tumours or neoplasia) is one of the main causes of death in dogs, cats and other species. Here are 10 interesting facts about cancer.

  1. Cancer is "an abnormal mass of tissue, the growth of which exceeds and is uncoordinated with that of the normal tissues, and persists in the same excessive manner after cessation of the stimulus which evoked the change" (after Willis). In other words cancer consists of cells that grow out of control of the body's normal regulatory mechanisms.
  2. Cancer affects all vertebrate species and is a major cause of death in many species including humans, dogs and cats.
  3. Cancers  usually - but not always, occur more frequently in older aged animals
  4. Not all forms of cancer are very serious. Warts (papillomas) are a form of cancer but they are benign.
  5. There are two types of cancer - benign forms remain local and do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant cancers are more serious and may be life-threatening because they have the potential to spread to other parts of the body eg to the lungs, liver, skeleton or brain.
  6. It has been estimated that a sugar-cube sized malignant growth (eg breast cancer) may contain 1000 million malignant cells - so early detection and treatment is very important.
  7. Some forms of cancer can be caused by virus infections. eg Feline Leukaemia virus can cause a malignant cancer - lymphosarcoma - in cats
  8. White cats can get cancer of extremities such as their ear flaps, through exposure to too much sunlight
  9. Some cancers - eg lymphoma in the dog, are affected by nutrition and dietary management is an important part of their management 
  10. MOST FORMS OF CANCER CAN BE MANAGED SUCCESSFULLY - the signs associated with the disease and the growth or spread of the cancer can be delayed or prevented - even if the patient can not be totally cured.

Last updated : September 2013