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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Hemangiosarcoma, Mammary Cancers and Plastic Link?

Updated: January 3rd, 2019

Many of you will remember a media stir over BPA, that stuff found in plastic baby bottles that could be hazardous.

BPA is Bishenol A.  It is found in many different types of plastic. The most common is the clear, hard plastic called polycarbonate.

BPA is also found in plastic food and beverage containers, “carbonless” receipt paper, canned food lining, white dental fillings and more.

It is also likely found in some of the plastics in the dish that your dog may be eating and drinking out of. It may be in the lining of the canned food you are feeding your dog.



It has been shown that BPA leaks out of the plastic, into the food or water over time.  If your dog is chewing plastic objects, my guess is this accelerates the process.  Old plastic is the worst.

The story with BPA, at least as far as we are concerned, is that the chemical may increase the proliferation of some mammary cancers and hemangiosarcoma.

How is this possible?

BPA has been shown to have effects in the body like the natural hormone estrogen.
If excessive estrogen effects are seen in the body, it stimulates certain cells to divide.

The cells that are stimulated to divide have little receptors in the outside of the cell.  A receptor is like a lock for a key.  Here, the key is estrogen.

When an estrogen molecule floats along, it can attach to the estrogen receptor. This binding tells those cells that have the estrogen key in the  receptor lock to start multiplying.

Some mammary tumors and hemangiosarcomas have been shown to have estrogen receptors.

Therefore, if BPA can attach to the receptor just like estrogen can, it may stimulate the growth of these cancers.


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The pundit gallery will argue that the levels of BPA allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the FDA are safe.

Sadly, there are now many, many publications by independent scientists showing lower levels than those allowed by the EPA and FDA have estrogenic effects.

Here is just one example for you to check out for yourself.

Legislators hear testimony from associations such as the Polycarbonate Business Unit of the American Plastics Council along with those of independent scientists.

Since our elected officials have no way of judging the science on either side, legislation is stymied.

For the time being, I feel it is time to stop using plastic bowls, dishes and toys for our dogs, especially those afflicted with hemangiosarcoma or mammary tumors.

Canned food is in question as well. If you are not feeding your dog a canned cancer diet like ND or others, I would consider switching to home-made stews.  There are recipes and tips in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

The plastics recognized as being prime BPA-leakers have the numbers 03 and 07 in the small triangle stamp on the bottom.

Best to all,

Dr D


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