Surgery for cancer patients plays a fundamental role in both the diagnosis and treatment of our canine and feline companions and it may be used as a curative treatment for some cancers. Diagnosing cancer in your pet may involve taking a biopsy or sample of the mass or tumor – different types of biopsy procedures may be done depending on the size and location of the mass. An incisional biopsy involves taking a small sample or piece of the tumor. The sample is then submitted for histopathology in order to determine the type of cancer, and if it is benign or malignant. Alternatively an excisional biopsy may be performed, which means that the entire tumor is removed. It is then submitted for histopathology to know the type and grade of cancer, in addition to determining the completeness of excision or margins.
Knowing the cancer type, grade and margins are an integral part in understanding the behavior or prognosis and if further therapy (such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy) will be needed for your pet. Surgeons also play a central role in the palliation and rehabilitation of cancer patients and they work closely with the oncologist in deciding the best option for your pet. At CancerVets, we will work as a team with your veterinarian or surgeon. For more information about surgical oncology, please visit the Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology.