The First Step: The first step in the process of cancer care is to appreciate and combat the myths of both the disease as well as its treatment. Instead of viewing cancer and cancer therapy through a shroud of misconceptions, we want to provide you with information such that you may appreciate the realities of cancer treatment. One's feelings and opinions of cancer are often based on previous experiences with the disease in both animals and our family/friends. These previous experiences will "color" the way we think about and prepare for cancer care in our pets. It is only by replacing the myths and misperceptions of cancer care with present and applicable information that we can think clearly, make decisions and begin to find the hope and opportunities that lie before us as with deal with this disease.
The Second Step: The second step of cancer care is the establishment of a care team. At the center of that team is the person who best knows the pets needs and desires. You are going to be the decision making and treatment guiding figure in each step of the process. Without your input, attention and care as well as ongoing assessment, care of your pet will not be optimal. Your regular veterinarian, just like a primary health care provider is absolutely essentially. He/She knows the background health status of your pet and appreciates the ongoing overall medical health of your pet. They will be an essential resource in providing ongoing care for the pet with cancer. Finally it is vitally important to consult with a health care provider that has received advanced training and who limits their practice to oncology. This veterinarian and their staff will be able to provide information and treatment options that are up to date, comprehensive and meet the individual needs of the patient. With a team of people optimum care for the pet can be obtained and provided.
The Third Step: The third step of cancer care is to obtain as much information as possible about your particular pet's type of cancer. Questions to ask include: What is the diagnosis? How advanced is the disease in my pet? What is the natural course of this type of cancer and how will it affect my pet? How is my pet's overall health? What options are available for treatment? Is a cure possible? If a cure is not possible what can I expect as an outcome to treatment? What are the possible side effects of treatment? You should be prepared with a list of additional questions and concerns to ask the oncology team regarding your pet and their situation and you should expect to leave the initial consultation visit appreciating what lies ahead. It is only with complete information regarding your pet and their specific cancer that one can make good overall decisions regarding care.