The word cancer describes an enormous spectrum of diseases with one common feature – uncontrolled growth of cells. Each tumor is individual but behavior can often be predicted based on the tissue of origin.
Where Is It?
Given that patients are unique, collecting information to make a plan is an essential step in managing cancer. Some of the most important steps include finding out what a tumor is, where we can find it, and determining how the patient is doing at home.
A Team Approach
No single person can treat every patient with cancer. At Mizzou, we believe that by coming together to work as a team, we can do better. You may not see the whole team during your visit but every day the Oncology Service discusses every patient seen by the Surgical Oncology, Medical Oncology, and Radiation Oncology sections. This approach allows specialists in different branches of oncology to provide their input for patients, which gives owners the best options available. The Oncology Service is also supported by radiologists, pathologists, anesthesiologists, and the critical care team. Our goal is to keep the whole patient and plan in view to help you and your pet.
Owners frequently ask if anything can be done for patients with cancer and often the answer is yes. Surgery tends to be the mainstay of treatment for cancers that have not spread. Appropriately planned and executed surgery has the potential to be curative for dogs with many common cancers such as soft tissue sarcoma or mast cell tumors. For some patients, surgery alone may not be able to provide control of the cancer; however, combining surgery with other treatment types, such as radiotherapy, may still afford good outcomes.
For tumors that produce hormones, such as adrenal tumors causing Cushing’s disease, removal of the primary mass can remove the source of hormones to allow the body a chance to return to normal function.
Cancers that have spread are typically not managed by surgery alone. Depending on the tumor type and extent of disease though, surgery may still have a role to improve quality of life, delay progression of disease, or increase the success of treatments such as chemotherapy.
The Surgical Oncology team works as part of the Oncology Service and the active clinical trials unit. If you have any questions about clinical trials, you may learn more here.
If you have more questions about a problem that you think may benefit from the care from one of our surgeons, or if you would like us to examine your pet and discuss treatment options, please contact us.