Principles of Oncology

Chapter 26 Principles of Oncology

Cancer management in animals has evolved considerably over the past 3 decades as the result of several significant factors. Improved health care of animals has increased the age distribution of pets and hence their likelihood of developing cancer; clients are more aware of aggressive treatment choices; and there have been significant improvements in treatment success. There remains some controversy and confusion over the best course of treatment for many tumor types, and more studies are needed to provide the necessary data. However, clinicians can use a generic framework for evaluation and treatment management of many tumor types. This chapter provides an outline useful for clinical management of an animal with cancer.




Many techniques are available for tumor biopsy. The method selected should safely and simply procure an adequate tissue sample to provide an accurate diagnosis without making definitive treatment more difficult or invasive.

Tumor Staging

Accurate staging requires understanding the biologic behavior of different tumor types, combined with the results of a thorough diagnostic workup based on this expected behavior. Tumor staging is used to do the following:

Several staging systems are available. Most are based on assessment of local, regional, and distant disease involvement. Some systems include other factors, such as presence or absence of clinical signs (e.g., lymphomas), tumor histologic grade (e.g., mast cell tumors), or tumor location (e.g., squamous cell carcinoma of mouth, tonsil, pinna, or digit). The TNM staging system (T, tumor size or extent; N, lymph node involvement; M, metastasis) devised by the World Health Organization is the standard system for most tumors in veterinary medicine. Table 26-2 describes this staging scheme and gives an example. Staging systems should be revised as new prognostic information is acquired.

Aug 27, 2016 | Posted by in SMALL ANIMAL | Comments Off on Principles of Oncology

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