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About Cancer in Pets

There are three basic steps in cancer causation. These steps ultimately lead to the evolution of a normal cell to a cancer cell.

  • Initiation: Initiating agents induce a permanent and irreversible change in the DNA of the affected cell. In and of itself, the initiating event is not significant enough to induce cancer transformation.

  • Promotion: Promoting agents cause reversible tissue and cellular changes. Promoting agents can result in changes in the shape of a cell, its growth rate, and degree of differentiation. Promotion serves to expand the initiated cell population and alter it in such a way as to increase the likelihood of cancer.

  • Progression: Progressing agents are able to convert an initiated cell, or a cell undergoing promotion, into a cell exhibiting malignancy.

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Cancer CellsIn order for a tumor to result, the affected cell must be irreversibly altered at least twice. The cell is altered once in the initiation phase and once in the progression phase. The promotion phase changes the affected cell in a way to increase the likelihood that the cell changed by the initiation will be in a position to be changed by the progression phase.

Cancer is a common and serious disease. Many owners have had or will have personal experience with cancer in themselves, a family member, or a close friend. Keeping this in mind, we should approach the pet with cancer in an educated, positive, and compassionate manner. With increased optimistic media coverage, pet owners are becoming more knowledgeable and more proactive in seeking care for their pets with cancer. When clients hear about advances in human medicine, they expect the same treatment options for their pets.

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For More Information

Top ten warning signs of cancer
Tumors by name
Tumors and specialized cell types
Tumors by location
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