Skin cancer is a common occurrence in dogs and cats. Skin cancers include lipomas, mast cell tumors, melanomas, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer after basal cell carcinoma. The cancer may remain confined to the original site or invade underlying tissues and metastasize to other organs as well.
Carcinoma is a malignant tumor of the squamous epithelium that may also occur in many different organs including the lips, mouth, urinary bladder and lungs. While melanoma in dogs occurs mostly in dark-skinned animals, squamous cell carcinoma is mostly seen in white or light-skinned dogs.
Squamous cell carcinoma in dogs is less common than in cats. It is a cancer of the skin that tends to arise from the pre-malignant lesions and actinic keratosis, which is an overgrowth of skin layers resulting from prolonged exposure to the sun.
Most skin tumors in dogs and cats are removed through simple incisions or plastic surgery. Oral carcinoma, however, requires the removal of a larger amount of surrounding tissue, including parts of the lower and upper jaw. Ophthalmic surgery involving squamous cell carcinomas may require complete removal of the area. When this type of cancer occurs in the bladder, the prognosis is extremely poor. It usually invades the bladder wall, and surgical removal of the organ is generally not possible.
Irrespective of the type of dog cancer and the surgery performed, home care is vital to recovery. There is a great likelihood that some cancerous cells remain in the body. Some types of cancer can be extremely invasive and may spread to other organs. It is advisable to give natural medicines to your dog before and after surgery. Natural remedies basically boost the immune system to ensure speedy recovery from surgery and cancer.
A fair amount of research is being done to establish the role of the immune system in the prevention and cure of cancer. There may come a time when science ‘rediscovers’ the part played by herbs and other natural cures in strengthening the immune system, which may result in avoiding the surgical treatment of cancer completely.