Posts Tagged ‘mast cell tumor’
Since I began practice over 40 years ago the incidence of cancer in companion animals has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, veterinarians diagnose cancer daily in dogs, cats, birds, ferrets and rodents far to frequently. Surpisingly cancer is diagnosed more frequently in birds than in any other species. Some of the more common cancers seen in dogs and cats are mammary tumors (adenosarcoma), skin tumors, bone tumors (osteosarcoma), squamous cell carcinomas, sinus tumors, anal gland tumors, lymphosarcomas, mast cell tumors, fibrosarcomas, gum tumors, hemangiosarcomas of the spleen, and testicular tumors. In my opinion the increased incidence of cancer is a result of both the polluted environment we and our pets live in and the poor quality, mineral deficient soil we grow our crops in. Furthermore, the hormones, antibiotics, and parasiticides we feed our food animals end up in our own food and in our pets. There is little doubt that the poor quality of the air we breathe and the food we eat over stimulates inflammatory processes and eventually suppresses the immune system of people and pets. To add insult to injury we then process human and commercial pet food and add more toxins in the form of coloring agents, artificial flavorings, texturizers, and preservatives. Consequently if we are to deal with the root causes of cancer we must consider the problem from a holistic and not allopathic perspective. Holistic cancer support can be both a stand alone approach or an approach that is combined with conventional therapy.
The present conventional theory of cancer is that both humans and pets are continually producing cancer cells in their body, however, a healthy body will have an efficient immune system which is on constant alert for the development of cancerous cells and will quickly destroy these cells before they can form as cancerous mass, more commonly referred to as a tumor. Unfortunately, if we are not in the best of health and our immune system is not receiving the raw materials it needs to fight off emerging threats , the cancer cells will get a foot hold and grow into a tumor that may become life threatening.
Any time you notice a lump or swelling on your pet have it promptly checked out by your veterinarian. Although veterinarians can often make a good guess as to whether the lump is benign or malignant he or she can never be certain without first obtaining a biopsy sample that is then sent to the veterinary pathologist for a definite diagnosis. The biopsy may be obtained with a needle, key punch device, biopsy forceps or by excising the whole growth or a portion with a scalpel blade. When the biopsy is taken with a needle and syringe it is called “an aspiration biopsy”. Although aspiration biopsies are perhaps the most common approach to identifying malignancy they do provide more chance for misdiagnosis because of the small size of the sample. Any new growth should be biopsied even if it looks like a benign fatty tumor. Benign fatty tumors (lipomas) can not be distinguished from malignant mast cell tumors by physical exam alone. At a recent oncology seminar I attended the speaker made the following very important point: “Do not wait to see if a mass continues to grow before biopsying it to determine whether it is malignant.”
Of course there are many cancer growths which can not be seen because they involve internal organs. Cancers like hemangiosarcomas of the spleen, may get huge before they produce obvious outward symptoms. What follows are what many veterinary sources consider to be possible signs of cancer.: weight loss for no apparent reason, loss of normal appetite, bleeding from a body opening like the nostril, a foul odor from the mouth, difficulty eating and swallowing, difficulty breathing, non healing wounds, lameness that persists.
So what can we do to protect ourselves and our pets from cancer and how can we treat them once they are diagnosed with cancer? Think holistic, holistic, holistic. Keeping our pets bodies in optimal health by providing them a healthy diet, healthy environment and life style, and plenty of exercise is the foundation for a strong immune system . Please visit my website Doc4pets.com for details on how to feed a healthy diet . As for a healthy environment, this would include minimal exposure to poisonous plants and chemical toxins on the grass, in the house, and in the garage. Radon levels in the basement should be checked. Don’t smoke around your pet. Second hand smoke has been shown to increase the incidence of cancer in cats. With regard to a healthy life style, this should include plenty of companionship and minimal stress. Even psychological stress due to isolation or fear from physical abuse can suppress a pet’s immune system and make him or her more susceptible to cancer. So try not to leave your dog alone in the house for extended periods. Spend quality time with your pet. Exercise can be in the form of jogging, fetching, hiking or competitive sports such as “fly ball”training or chasing a laser light. Take your pet to a holistic veterinarian who can serve as your partner and coach in helping you reduce your pets toxin load, and in supporting his or her immune system.
Conventional treatment of pets diagnosed with cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Alternative / holistic approaches include homemade lightly cooked (rare)- grass fed- low grain- organic - meat based diets. Holistic cancer therapy also includes liver support and detoxification, antioxidants therapy, systemic enzyme therapy, acupuncture, and immune modulators, oxygen therapy, mushroom immune support, Neoplasene therapy and life style enhancement.
Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth, invasion and destruction of surrounding tissues. Some cancer remains a localized problem but others spread (metastasize) to other locations via the blood and lymphatics. Cancer affects people and pets of all ages. The branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer is “oncology”. Nearly all cancers are caused by abnormalities in the genes of these abnormal cells. These abnormalities may be due to the effects of carcinogens such as tobacco smoke, radiation, chemicals, and infectious agents (viruses) to name a few. Other causes of cancer may result from random errors in gene replication or are inheritied and present in all cells since birth. Conventionally cancer diagnosis is made by the microscopic exam of a biopsy specimen although the initial indications of malignancy may come from radiographic abnormalities. It is possible to slow the progression of many cancers and in some instance make them disappear. The prognosis depends on the type of cancer, the location of the cancer and stage of the cancer. Upon confirming the diagnosis, cancer is usually treated conventionally with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
The following is information on the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer:
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Cancer that occurs in the mouth, underneath the tongue or along the gums of the middle-aged and older cats. Common signs of squamous cell carcinoma in cats includes difficulty eating, interest in food but not wanting to eat, drooling and odor from the mouth. Osteosarcoma: Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone tumor in dogs. Osteosarcoma begins in the bone but can spread throughout the bloodstream very early in the course of the disease (metastasis). The most common areas of the body for this cancer to appear are the wrist, shoulder, knee and hip. The first sign of bone cancer is lameness due to pain from the cancer. Swelling often occurs at the tumor site. Transitional Cell Carcinoma – Tumors usually form at the bladder opening and can cause blockage and painful urinartion. Pets frequently strain while trying to urinate. Transitional Cell Carcinoma can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms such as straining to urinate, blood in the urine or frequent urination are also a symptom of a urinary tract infection. This can delay the discovery of the cancer, especially since antibiotics can often result in some improvement of symptoms. Thus, at the time of diagnosis, bladder cancer can be fairly far advanced and may have spread to other parts of the body. Adenocarcinoma: Anal sac adenocarcinomas are tumors arising from the apocrine glands present on either side of the rectum. These tumors can range greatly in size from a very small mass that can be found only after a rectal examination or a large mass protruding from the rectum. While the tumor appears locally, it is quite common for them to metastasize, often to the lymph nodes in between the spine and colon. Symptoms vary depending upon the gender of the pet and can include increased thirst, weakness, persistent licking at the site, difficulty defecating, decreased appetite.
The incidence of cancer is increasing in both humans and animals Certain cancers are more prevalent in in certain breeds ie. Golden retrievers with lymposarcoma, boxers with mastocytoma, Great Danes with osteosarcoma, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers with hemangiosarcoma. Irresponsible breeding to achieve nothing more than looks at the expense of health is often the cause for such breed predispositions. If you are thinking of purchasing a new pup, check out the breed to find out what health issues the breed is proned to.
When a pet or person is diagnosed with cancer the question that needs to be asked is, “Why did it happen?” The present thinking is that we are all developing cancer cells all the time. If our body is healthy and the` immune system is efficient then these renegade cancer cells will be identified and destroyed before a solid tumor results. When a tumor develops, at some level the immune system failed to perform effectively. So the question is where and why did the failure occur. As the overall causes of cancer first you have genetics. Second you have the affects of diet and thirdly the effects of a toxic environment and life style (which includes psychological stress).
Cancer is not something you or your pet contract it is something that often happens to you slowly, in a step by by step progression. The unfortunate fact is that cancer is the all too often the end result of living in a toxic world. Environmental toxins occur as excessive sunlight, chronic electromagnetic field exposure, geopathic stress, sick building syndrome, ionizing radiation, nuclear radiation, pesticide/herbicide residues, industrial toxins, polluted water, chlorinated water, fluoridated water, household cleaners and even possibly vaccines. Food toxins occur as pesticides, parasitacides, antibiotics, hormone, texturizers, flavor enhancers, food colorings, and allergens.
Anything that produces damage to the intestinal lining can results in a “leaky gut syndrome” where bad bacteria, bacterial toxins, yeast, and large grain protein molecules are able to enter the liver’s hepatic circulation and eventually exhaust the livers ability to detoxify. When toxins enter the body they challenge both the immune system and the detoxification system. Toxins, which often act as free radicals stimulate: 1) the immune system to produce a protective inflammatory response and 2) the antioxidants defense system to neutralize the free radicals. If the immune system is too busy dealing with a heavy toxic load it may become so overwhelmed that it does not have the time or man power to protect the body from spontaneously occurring cancer cell. Also, toxins and free radicals can damage cellular DNA and be the cause of many of the spontaneously occurring cancer cells .
Under more optimal environmental circumstances where toxins are not so abundant, mutated cancer cells are quickly recognized by the immune system such that the cancerous cell’s uncontrollable growth elicits an immune response which will send macrophages (phagocytic white blood cells) to the region for cellular phagocytosis and removal of the mutated cancer cells (Walters, 1993).
Besides a toxic environment, nutritional deficiencies may also predispose the body to cancer. If the raw materials the immune system and the detoxification process require to do their job are not present then the cancer may not be discovered and or destroyed. The cells will then grow into a malignant mass.
It should become obvious that cancer must be considered a whole body, systemic disease rather than a localized phenomena. Conventional medicine treats cancer as a localized disease and recommends the “cut, slash, and burn” approach to cancer therapy. That is they treat cancer more as a localized disease that must be either surgically cut out, slashed out by irradiation, or burned out by chemical destruction. Most conventional oncologists do not emphasize the importance of the elimination of food and environmental toxins or enhancing overall nutrition. He or she rarely recommend nutraceuticals to stimulate the immune system, support the liver, encourage detoxification, and remove destructive free radicals.
On the contrary, holistic cancer therapy begins by emphasing optimal general nutrition consisting of homemade diets made up of a wide variety of fresh organic meats and veggies, trace minerals, omega fatty acids. To this foundation of great general nutrition, the holistic approach adds nutraceuticals providing digestive enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics, mega vitamin and trace mineral therapy, whole food concentrated antioxidants, immune stimulants, detoxification and liver support. Next the holistic approach commonly adds nutriceuticals that help to change “the biological terrain” to one that is inhospitable for the growth of cancer. Keep in mind that cancer loves sugar and acidity, but hates oxygen and an alkaline environment. By changing the bioterrain to one that discourages cancer growth we hope to prevent both local growth and metastasis to other sites. Trace minerals encourage an alkaline bioterrain where stabilized oxygen supplements, ozone, dimethylglycine, and Megahydrate support a highly oxygenated terrain, all of which discourage the progression of cancer.
Perhaps the most important organ to support in a cancer patient is the liver since it is the major organ of detoxification. The more overwhelmed and exhaused the liver is the more toxic the body becomes. The more toxic the body the poorer is its overhall immune system function. Therefore supporting the livers detoxification capactiy will help cleanse the body and encourgage a better functioning immune system. Herbs like milk thistle and nutrients like MSM, n acetylcysteine, alpha lipoic acid, dimethyglycine, SAM-E and selenium all help the liver to better detox the body by stimulating the production of glutathione and glutathione peroxidase which are the most important antioxidants in the liver.
Nutrients, herbs, and homeopathics that support the immune system include medicinal mushroom, astragalus, zinc, iodine, selenium thyroid hormones, thymus extracts, beta glucans, essential carbohydrates, and systemic enzymes etc.
Next there are a number of specific nutrients and herbs that block the progression of cancer at various stages of development. Resveratrol is an example. Finally there are specific herbs and nutrients, that are lethal to cancer. These include IV or subcutaneous vitamin C, Laetrile, Artemesinin, and hydrogen peroxide.
The big difference between conventional cancer therapy and the above nutritional, nutraceutical, and mega nutrient holistic cancer therapy is that the later does not: damage healthy cells, or inhibit healthy immune system functioning. Since we know that the immune system is instrumental in removing cancerous cells , anything that damages its effectiveness would be unwanted. A final note is that even when the holistic approach does not cure cancer at least it does no harm. So keeping thinking holistic, holistic, holistic!
There is no one, holistic “right way” to treat a cancer patient be human or pets . The treatment will depend not only on the type of cancer but also on the individual patient and caregiver. It will also depend on how long the cancer has been present and what medical treatment has already been prescribed. Some cases are so advanced that I don’t recommend much treatment other than nutritional therapy. In such cases it is usually best to focus on and enjoy the time you have left together with the patient rather than complicating the patients life with stressful supplement regiments. No matter what stage of cancer the patient is in they can benefit from an improved diet loaded with vitamin/antioxidants like Vitamin A, C, and E and the mineral selenium. Blood cleansing herbs and detoxifiers are usually in order. So think holistic, holistic, holistic!
Categories of holistic anti cancer supplements
1) Holistic supplements which enhance cellular immunity
Astragalus, Echinacea, Aloe mucopolysaccharides, Omega3, carotenoids,
mushroom and yeast extracts, Green tea polyphenols, reduced glutathione,
2) Holistic supplements which minimize oxidative stress and destroy free radicals
Resveratrol, reduced glutathione, green tea, quercitin , curcumin, megahydrate,
Selenium, vitamin C and E, Lipoic acid, hydrogen peroxide,
3) Holistic supplements which support the liver and detoxification process .
Reduced glutathione, N acetylcysteine, Curcumin, Resveratrol, SAM-E, E, milk Thistle,
4) Holistic supplements that normalize the clock of the cell cycle
Resveratrol, , tocotrienols, curcumin, green tea polyphenols, vitamin D,
CoQ10, reduced glutathione, Quercitin
5) Holistic supplements that enhance cancer cell differentiation
Vit D3, caratenoids, Ganoderma, Quercitin
6) Holistic supplements that encourage apoptosis
Green tea polyphenols, quercitin, CoQ10, Ganoderma, Curcumin
7) Holistic supplements that are anti angiogenic ( inhibit new blood vessel proliferation) supplements
Omega3, Green tea polyphenols, Aloe Vera, shark cartilage,
8) Holistic supplements that kill malignant cells by stimulating intercellular production Of hydrogen peroxide
Vitamin C, Artemesinin, H202,
9) Holistic supplements that create an inhospitable biologic terrain for cancer cells to
live in. They increase alkalinity & oxygenation,
Megahydrate, Ultimate pH Balance, H202, NaHC03 & honey
10) Holistic supplements blocking different stages of cancer developement: initiation, promotion and
Resveratrol, Selenium, garlic, catechins and polyphenols from green tea,
Cruciferous vegetables (Brassica), quercitin, Ascorbic acid, omega 3 fatty
Acids, vitamin E, proanthocyanidins
11) Miscellaneous holistic supplements
Glucosinolates from cruciferous veggies, sprouts, cabbage, homeopathic therapy
The following are a list of terms with definition that are important to know when you are reading or researching cancer:
Tumor: A swelling, lump, or mass.
Neoplasm: An abnormal proliferation of genetically altered cell. A mass formed by an abnormal proliferation of genetically altered cells. Synonymous with the word tumor
Malignant Neoplasm: Synonymous with cancer.
Benign Neoplasm/tumor: A tumor that stops growing by itself, does not invade other tissues and does not spread to other tissue (metastasize).
Pre malignant tumor: A neoplasm that is not invasive but has the potential to progress to cance
Stage of cancer: a number on a scale of 4 developed by the oncologists to describe the degree of invasion of the body by the tumor.
Below are a list of terms and definitions that are found in most discussions involving cancer.
Adenoma: a tumor involving glandular tissue
Carcinoma: Malignant tumor derived from epithelial cells
Sarcoma: Malignant tumor derived from connective tissue
Lymphoma and Leukemia: Malignancies derived from hematopoietic (blood forming) cells.
Blastoma: A tumor which resembles an immature or embryonic tissue
Symptoms of cancer may be divided into 3 groups:
1) Local symptoms= lumps, bumps, or swelling, bleeding, pain, ulcerations
2) Symptoms of metastasis= enlarged lymph nodes, cough, enlarged liver, bone
pain, fracture of affected bones, neurological symptom
3) Systemic symptoms = weight loss, poor appetite, fatigue, anemia
The general scenario of cancer development occurs this way :
1. “Induction” of genetic instability
2. Abnormal “Expression” of genes: too many cancer promoting genes and too few cancer inhibiting genes
3. Abnormal “Signal Transduction”: Signals that come from outside the cell and go to the nucleus stimulate
proliferation of malignant cells
4. Abnormal “cell to cell communication”: In cancer cells the mechanisms controlling communication with other
cells doesn’t work.
5. Induction of “Angiogenesis”: growth of new capillaries
6. “Invasion and metastaisis”: spread via lymph and blood
7. “Immune evasion”: cancer cells learn to shield themselves from the immune system
Basic Premises about cancer
1. Results from failure of immune surveillance to detect cancer due to:
a. nutritional deficiencies causing hypofunction; dietary toxins
b. GI and liver damage which allows toxin into body resulting in immune stress
c. Immune system exhausted by environmental toxins
d. Immune system exhausted by psychological or physical stress
2. Cancer loves sugar
3. Cancer hates oxygen
4. Cancer loves an acidic environment. Toxins are acidic. Free radicals are acidic
5. Cancer loves iron
6. Oncovirus damage DNA
7. Free radicals damage DNA therefore antioxidants can help prevent cancer.
8. Cancer is a result of an energy blockage that orginates in the etheric field — eastern concept
9. Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells can not make the enzyme catalase which is needed to destroy intercellular toxic hydrogen peroxide. Vitamin C therapy stimulates intercellular hydrogen peroxide.
10. The liver is the most important organ to support when treating cancer because it is the major organ of detoxification.
A few more remarks on common canine cancers:
Hemangiosarcoma - Most commonly found in the spleen, liver and heart and the prognosis is determined by the location of the disease. The cancer arises from the blood vessels and results in the production of abnormal blood vessels that can be weak and prone to leaking. As the cancer progresses, the cancerous vessels can rupture and results in blood loss. As the spleen is the organ most commonly affected by this type of cancer, rupture can lead to blood loss into the abdomen. This is an emergency situation and can result in weakness and collapse. Many pets with hemangiosarcoma often require a splenectomy.
Mast Cell Tumors - Mast cell tumors are among the most common tumors in dogs and are the most common type of skin cancer found in dogs. The most common location to find mast cell tumors is, by far, the skin, followed by the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. Both normal and cancerous mast cells contain chemicals that can be released into surrounding tissues. When these chemicals (particularly histamine) are released into the normal surrounding body tissues, side effects can include digestive problems (for ex: bleeding ulcers), skin rashes, shortness of breath and other symptoms. Mast cell tumors vary greatly in their size, shape, appearance and texture. The only way to definitely identify them is with a biopsy and pathology report.
Lymphoma - is cancer of the lymphatic tissue. The lymph system is a core part of the body’s immune system. The lymphatic system is an extensive drainage network that defends the body against infections. It is comprised of a network of lymphatic vessels that carry lymph (a clear, watery fluid that contains protein, salts, glucose and other substances) throughout the body. The lymphatic system also serves as a low pressure drainage system that collects interstitial fluid throughout the body and returns it to the bloodstream. The most common sign of lymphoma is a painless enlargement of the lymph nodes.
Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal, one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, ferrets rodents, and reptiles with both conventional andalternative medicine. Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy. He is the author of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and past board member of the American Holistic Veterinary Association. Visit us at www.doc4pets.com
Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit area including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Cities in these counties including Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson, Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville,Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Clarkston, Waterford, Union Lake, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica, White Lake, Grosse Pointe, Romeo, Swartz Creek, Shelby township, Washington, Flint, Hartland, Lansing, Okemos, Howell, Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio