Our expert says:
There are different ways to discover whether the lump is malignant or not. A biopsy is the most reliable, however the diagnosis can often be made by simply performing a fine-needle aspirate (using a normal syringe and needle) and submitting the sample to a pathologist for review. Once a diagnosis is made, only then can treatment be determined. Not all types of tumour should be irradiated, neither would all masses be malignant. Therefore, firstly determine what the mass is, then determine the treatment. Without specific information as to the type of tumour and whether it has spread, treatment cannot and should not be determined.
The good news is that radiation treatment very seldom result in any observable side-effects, other than possibly hair loss over the affected area. We often do radiation treatments, and I have never encountered any side-effects. This will depend on how the radiation is performed, including the dose and interval. The same is often true for chemotherapy. The general perception that animals will become sick and suffer as result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy is simply not true. Also, I have many many survivors of cancer as patients. This will always depend on the type of cancer, the extent of the cancer and the individual and can never be guaranteed. Will I put my own dogs through chemotherapy or radiation therapy? Most definitely, depending on the type of cancer.
I cannot tell you what is best for you and your pet in this particular situation. You and your vet only wants to do what is best for him, and this needs to be a mutual decision based on facts.
Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
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