DEFINING TREATMENT OPTIONS for YOUR PET
The decision making process for management of cancer in pets can be a complicated and difficult process. The evaluation of the general health of the patient, the type of cancer, access to specialized treatments and the emotional, time and financial commitment to conduct the treatment must be carefully considered. The benefits, risks and costs cannot be adequately determined without some assistance and support. Such support is best obtained from family, friends and veterinary professionals. Once the general health of the patient has been determined to be adequate and the cancer has been clinically staged and biopsied, the next decision is to determine treatment options.
TUMOR BIOLOGY and NATURAL HISTORY
Rational treatment planning involves basic knowledge of the potential for local recurrence and metastasis of the neoplasm. The keystone of this information is the histological assessment or diagnosis. Malignant tumors predisposed to local recurrence should be managed aggressively from the time of initial diagnosis. The chance for long-term tumor control is greatest when the tumor is undisturbed by previous therapeutic intervention. The risks and benefits of aggressive management must be carefully considered. However, most people will recognize the obvious benefit of prolonged tumor response with reduced overall expense if the tumor can be managed once, albeit initially more costly, compared to multiple, suboptimal attempts at tumor control.