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Department Information – Oncology


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What is Cancer?

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells on or within the body. They are either localized to one part of the body as a visible mass (tumor) or spread throughout (metastasis). Cancer is common in pet animals like dogs and cats and its prevalence increases with age. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats tend to get fewer cancers. Cancer is the number one disease-related cause of death in dogs and cats. Because the cause of cancer is not known, prevention is difficult. The exception, mammary cancer, also known as breast cancer, is largely preventable with early spaying.

Medical Oncology

Medical oncology involves the diagnosis and, more specifically, the management of the treatment of cancer.

A medical oncologist has knowledge of all aspects regarding the treatment of cancer, including biological therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. It is the medical oncologist who determines the proper choice, dosage, and schedule of cancer treatment drugs to be given. Medical oncologists frequently combine chemotherapy with consultations from radiation therapists and veterinary surgeons to give each patient the best possible outcome.

The medical oncologist is usually the manager of care received by a cancer patient. Expertise in pain management, treatment of chemotherapy side effects, psychological care, and social needs all are considered by the medical oncologist. Although medical oncologist may have a special interest in a certain type of cancer or cancer therapies, he/she is also equipped with the skills to work with all forms of the disease and the therapies associated within.

Radiation Oncology

Gulf Coast Veterinary Oncology was the first veterinary radiation oncology practice in the Gulf Coast region. This practice is one of the few veterinary radiation oncology facilities in the United States with linear accelerator therapy capabilities.

A linear accelerator allows for precise radiation therapy fields, decreasing the amount of time necessary for the actual radiation treatment. In keeping with this commitment to provide quality cancer therapy, we also utilize a radiation physicist and a cutting-edge computer-based therapy planning unit. This ensures that the radiation therapy patient is appropriately treated and minimizes the amount of normal tissue affected by this form of therapy.