"Harvey" - Cat with Gastric Lymphoma
|Once a diagnosis of a particular cancer is made the treatment options can then be discussed. Most readers will be aware that there is a very wide spectrum of options available for our patients including, under the right circumstances, euthanasia. What can often surprise people is that the options are very specific to the nature of the cancer involved.|
Surgical excision is often the treatment of choice particularly where the cancer remains local to the site of origin and can be removed with a healthy margin around the cancer cells. However, there is little value to the patient with a big operation if the cancer has already spread around the body. Under these circumstances medication or chemotherapy may be more appropriate. This option is also only suitable for cancers which are responsive to this type of medication. In some cancers chemotherapy has little benefit and is not considered as an option.
Each individual patient is considered with regard to their own specific problem and circumstances. What is fine in one patient may not be at all suitable in another."Harvey" is an excellent example of a patient who has responded extremely well to chemotherapy.
Drug dosages were chosen to minimise toxic effects on other parts of the body. Chemotherapy kills all rapidly dividing cells and doesn't discriminate between those healthy rapidly dividing cells as are found in the bone marrow and digestive tract, and the cancer cells. It is simply because cancer cells generally divide more rapidly that they are killed more readily.
It is clear from this that all current cancer research looks towards treatments which will identify or target cancer cells and then eliminate them without causing adverse effects on normal body mechanisms.
Nine months on from his original diagnosis of gastric lymphoma (stomach cancer) Harvey is thriving and enjoying life to the full.
BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS