Most pets diagnosed with cancer can have a normal lifespan in a healthy manner and their quality of life remains stable throughout the treatment process. Accurate diagnosis and proper treatment requires a wholistic medical approach to the patient.
Staging is determining the scope of the local tumor and whether it has metastasized. There are specific procedures to follow for staging which is the basis of cancer treatment. With physical examination, the location of the tumor and its connection to surrounding tissues are evaluated.
In order to determine the type of cancer and plan the treatment protocol, cancerous cells and tissues are examined with a microscope. These pathological findings that we may group under cytology and biopsy tests are the only ways for a definitive diagnosis of cancer type.
Advanced imaging techniques are one of the most efficient tools in diagnostics and treatment protocol planning. They provide three dimensional images of the internal body parts and enable a thorough understanding of the cancer.
The main purpose in surgical operations in cancer patients is to completely remove the cancerous tissue and tumor. In some cases, it is also necessary to clean off the cancerous cells in some areas like lymph nodes. In others, a limb has to be amputated, a situation which animals can easily adapt to.
Chemotherapy is used on cats and dogs in most types of cancer in order to prevent the rapid growth and spreading of cancerous cells. Cancer cells mostly multiply rapidly. Chemotherapy medications damage the ability of those cells to multiply and consequently destroy them.
There are many applications of radiation therapy in veterinary medicine. In some cases (such as regional lymphoma), radiotherapy can be used as a stand-alone treatment, usually in combination with surgery and chemotherapy, and radiotherapy is used for pain control. Because it is a regional treatment, its use in common tumors is limited.