November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. We want to uncover the truth behind some common myths surrounding cancer in pets. Learn what can happen when a pet develops cancer and undergoes treatment as we demystify some pet cancer misunderstandings.

Myth: Only older pets develop cancer

Truth: While older pets are more likely to develop cancer for many reasons, young pets are not immune. A weakened immune system and environmental and hereditary factors can play a role in cancer development, which means young pets can be at risk.

Myth: A cancer diagnosis means a poor prognosis for my pet

Truth: Not all cancers are highly aggressive, nor do they always spread to other locations. Many cancers grow slowly, are non-aggressive, do not metastasize, or go into remission with treatment.

Myth: The only form of cancer treatment for pets is chemotherapy

Truth: Although most cancer treatment plans include some form of chemotherapy, other options are available, such as:

  • Surgical excision
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

A veterinary oncologist will provide you with the best treatment plan to manage or cure your pet’s cancer.

Myth: Chemotherapy will cause debilitating side effects in my pet

Truth: When people think of chemotherapy, they often think of the negative side effects associated with the treatment. However, chemotherapy doses are lower for pets than for people. They typically do not cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and hair loss seen in humans. 

Myth: Cancer in pets is impossible to prevent

Truth: While many cancers cannot be prevented, you can be proactive in helping your pet avoid some of them. For example, you can spay or neuter your pet to prevent or reduce the risk of mammary, uterine, prostate, and testicular cancers. You also can protect your light-colored pet from the sun to reduce their risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

Keep in mind that your pet’s quality of life can still be managed if they develop cancer. Still, early diagnosis is key to the best outcome. Contact our team if you notice anything wrong in your furry pal, like a new lump or bump or a non-healing sore.