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

Is Cancer Caused By Old Age?

Updated: November 14th, 2018

Cancer is due to the fact that our dogs are living longer.


This was recently stated by a publicly aired news broadcast, by an expert.  And the topic was dog cancer.

I’m here to tell you that this is incorrect.  And as usual, there is ample back-up evidence. But first, some clarifications.

In the past we have confused two concepts.  One is that of longevity as cause of diseases like cancer.  This means that the addition of years of life is a cause of a problem.  So from this viewpoint, time is the main factor, and the fact that time is passing actually creates the disease.

The second concept is different.  This viewpoint includes the fact that many diseases are created at a very slow pace.  Many of these diseases, like cancer, are mainly due to issues found in more industrialized civilizations.   From this viewpoint, we are looking at disease-causing issues that happen at a very sluggish (but consistent) pace.

Of course you can see that these are separate ideas.  The first is that longevity is a cause.  The second is that we have causes, but they take a long time to have an effect.

Cancer is not caused by the fact that the pet and human populations are living longer. Cancer is caused by things that take a while to create cancer in the body.

Why does this matter?  Is it just to throw ideas around and act like armchair philosophers?

The reason it matters is that if cancer has definite causes that can be identified and addressed, singly or in groups, we can deal with this problem.  On the other had, if cancer is caused by old age, clearly we are powerless, since we cannot slow time’s passage.

Who wants to be powerless?  Who wants to make things better?

I’d take the second position.  And I’m sure you would to.

If you would like to learn more about the real-life, actual causes of cancer that are in our world right now, and you want to help your dog, you should check out The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.


Dr D

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