Those who have experienced the frustration and sadness in caring for a dog with cancer may have wondered, “Why is cancer still winning after all this time?”
In the last forty years, successes in cancer treatment relative to effort have been pretty meager. Even if one were to spend the average total price tag of $5000-8000 dollars for surgery, chemo and radiation as needed, things remain dreary.
I came across this recently in a Molecular Cancer Therapeutics article:
“Combination treatment involving surgical removal of the tumor and adjuvant chemotherapy is the most common treatment, but the prognosis for dogs having an invasive/metastatic tumor is poor, with median survival time ranging from weeks to months. Other treatments, such as radiation therapy and palliative treatment, have only limited success.”
And if you have a dog afflicted with this predator, you are experiencing the reality of how wimpy conventional care actually is improving lifespan and life quality for periods beyond 6-10 months, and unbearably, often much less. Why is this the case?
There are two areas to look at. Let’s examine one in this post
First, cancer starts when our dogs are youngsters. Exposures to invisible carcinogens in the modern world starts early. Aberrant cells caused by genes are created by genetic bloodlines. Dietary mismatches between commercial food and optimal health start during puppy-hood. Modern living suppresses immune responses. And more.
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So by the time we actually can see the problem as a physical issue or something that turns up on testing, we are late in the game.
This is why dogs 10 years or older have a 40- 50% chance of dying of cancer.
It is like having a car which, as we are driving along, suddenly the tire pops off, seemingly out of nowhere. What in the world?? How did that happen? Upon closer inspection, we see that actually, over the last years of life, the bolts have been slowly corroding due to salt, moisture, poor metal quality, and so on.
Looking further, we realize that the bolts on all tires have been corroding for years! This is the type of situation we are faced with in dog cancer. The problem is starting much earlier than we think. It takes multiple hits to the DNA to create cancer cells, and this occurs over a long period of time. The things that favor the growth of these cells, permitting their presence, also need time to be established.
We need to start earlier and raise awareness of cancer in the dog. We need to provide appropriate levels of apoptogens (substances that turn on apoptosis) to encourage replacement of deranged cells with healthy cells. We need to get our dogs on diets that mirror one eaten in the wild. They need physical exertion and mental stimulation.
For more information, check out The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.
All of these can help.
Best to all,
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.