There are always some cancer cells in the body which the body can effectively kill on its own if the immune system is strong. Despite this fact, pets still develop cancers that need treatment. Cancer in cats and dogs may not be a very common condition, but it can be as problematic and fatal as in humans. Pets cannot speak about the discomfort that they are facing and therefore, it is upon the pet owners and veterinarians to use their observation and knowledge to establish prevalence of symptoms of cancer in cats and dogs among other health conditions.
Feline cancer can occur in any part of the body. If cancer has been diagnosed in certain specific areas, radiation therapy is one of the treatment options that should be considered.
Radiation therapy involves the same X-rays that are used for a normal X-ray for clinical investigation. The difference is that the levels of the X-rays that are used for the therapy are thousands of times more powerful.
Radiation is a localized therapy and used in cases where chemotherapy and surgery are not possible. It is also used where there is a need to reduce the size of the tumor before surgery or chemotherapy. Sometimes there may be some amount of residual malignancy in the body even after surgery. These cases occur when the growth of the cancer is so widespread that excision involves vital organs and therefore the entire tumor cannot be removed.
Radiation therapy can be extremely instrumental in managing a tumor and in certain cases can even be used as a permanent solution. The therapy is given with the aid of a machine that is similar to an X-ray machine. The size and location of the tumor determines the level of voltage that is used.
Like any other conventional cancer treatment, there are various side effects that come along with radiation therapy. There is every possibility of healthy cells being killed along with those causing the cancer. Moreover, there is a need for your cat to remain extremely still during the process and therefore anesthesia becomes necessary. However limited it may be, even general anesthesia exposes the cat to some amount of risk. Nevertheless, it is felt that in many cases the benefits outweigh the side effects.
At most, the specialist can take precautions to protect your cat from risks that accompany radiation therapy to some extent. For this purpose, he needs to target the rays to the exact spot of the tumor. Another mode employed for protection is to extend the sessions over several weeks. The target area is marked with ink so that the same area can be targeted in each session. Regular monitoring by a veterinarian is required to ensure that the cancerous cells are eliminated completely.
Despite the fatal consequences of cancer, medical science has still not been able to understand the causes behind it.