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Should My Pet with Cancer Have Surgery?

There are many ways to treat cancer including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Among these, surgery is the oldest and most commonly used form of therapy.

Specifically, surgery means the cutting away of tissues. Your veterinarian may recommend surgery for several reasons. These include complete removal of a tumor, partial removal of a tumor, or exploration of a particular area to obtain a sample of tumor tissue and evaluate the extent of normal tissue involvement. In all cases, any tissue removed by surgery is submitted for biopsy (i.e., given to a pathologist to obtain a specific diagnosis).


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NB: Please consider the overall health implications and risk:benefit whenever removing a tumor. Ask your veterinarian about the pros and cons of treatment vs. watchful waiting in each situation. Ask if this tumor is mainly cosmetic, e.g. a fatty but unsightly growth, or potentially life-threatening? As in most other veterinary medical situations, education is key.–Dr. Jeff


Please note: The information provided here is intended to supplement the recommendations of your veterinarian. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment based on information on this site. Nothing can replace a complete history and physical examination performed by your veterinarian. -Dr. Jeff