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At Pet Cancer Care we want to help you understand cancer, its investigation and treatment and to provide you with the information and advice you need on all of the options available so that together we can develop an individualised, comprehensive care plan that aims to provide the highest quality of life and keeping your pet comfortable and happy for the longest time possible.

Cancer is not one disease, but many, and the investigations that we may need to do to learn about your pet’s cancer, and the treatments that might be available will vary between the different cancers. Some may require surgery, some chemotherapy, others may benefit from radiotherapy. Sometimes a combination of these things may be suggested. At Pet Cancer Care we never forget that our pets don’t understand the word “cancer”, and so our aim will always be to keep your pets quality of life our foremost thought, and part of the care plan will be to give you guidance in the palliative measures that you can use to maintain a happy pet.

The links on this page will explain the process of investigation and treatment of cancer and the supportive nursing care that we believe is vital to achieve the best outcomes for your pet.


Cancer is a genetic disease that results in the uncontrolled and unchecked growth of a tissue. Normally cell division is a very tightly controlled and highly regulated activity. In cancer damage to the DNA in the cells means that, by a variety of routes, the cells are able to divide without any stop on cell division. The cancer cells can also become immortal, and they will carry on dividing forever. Cancer results ultimately from a single cell and it causes the development of a lump, or in the case of blood cancers infiltration of the lymphatic system and sometimes the bone marrow. The lump is referred to as a tumour.

It is important to remember that cancer is not a single disease, but a multitude of different disease. Because it is such a varied disease it can present and behave in a wide variety of ways. Some will stay localised in a single place, some will grow locally and spread into surrounding tissues, other will spread (metastasise) rapidly to other organs round the body.


When we investigate a cancer in a patient it is easiest to think of the two questions that we need to answer


This means defining the disease and finding out as much as we can about the mass. What is the tissue type affected? How rapidly is it growing? What is the name of the tumour? This is normally investigated with a biopsy of the tissue and examination by a pathologist. They will be able to identify the tumour and give it a name and a grade…a measure of the tumour activity. This tells us how the tumour is likely to behave in the future.


This means finding out if the tumour is elsewhere in the body, another tissue affected locally or more distantly. This is called staging the cancer and is usually done by some form of imaging, X rays, or ultrasound or in many cases now CT scanning (A special Xray technique that creates “slices” across the body). Occasionally it may be that MRI would be required…especially if the brain or spine is involved.

Of equal importance to knowing about the cancer, it is important that we find out about any other health concerns, or other diseases that may be present that might affect how we manage the cancer.

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