Many people do not believe that lumps are a problem, and
want to wait and see what happens. Unfortunately,
we cannot give a 100% guarantee that a lump is harmless
by feel and appearance alone. Harmful cancers can look the
same as benign lumps, so we always suggest a biopsy to get
a definitive answer.
If a growth is malignant, the sooner it is dealt with the
better - and if the biopsy shows a growth is harmless we
can leave it alone with peace of mind.
Even if an owner wants a lump to be removed, it is advisable
to biopsy it first, as different types of cancer require
If a tumour is particularly aggressive, it may require
much wider margins to be removed from around it at the time
of surgery, to ensure full removal. A prior biopsy allows
for good planning. In dogs, two thirds of tumours are benign,
and only one third are cancerous. These figures are the
opposite for cats.
Jake, a 9 year old German Shepherd belonging
to my sons best friend and his family, recently developed
a rather large lump on his side. A biopsy showed that it
was a haemangiopericytoma a type of tumour that rarely
spreads around the body, but is notorious for spreading
out and invading into the tissues surrounding it. Thus,
if not widely excised to begin with, it is easy to leave
tumour cells behind and get re-growth.
Jake had aggressive surgery to fully remove his lump. He
and his young owner Ben are hoping thats the last
hell see of it!
Young BVSc CertSAM MRCVS.
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