Movember: Help Animals and Dogs Fight Prostate Cancer
November has been renamed Movember. That is not a typo; November is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of the month, an international movement, Movember, was started in Australia in 2003 with the aim of raising funds for charities—the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG-- that target men’s health issues. Since that time, Movember events have raised $126 million for the cause.
Prostate cancer, however, does not just affect men; dogs also get this form of the illness. It is thankfully an uncommon disease, but it does occur in both neutered and intact dogs. The signs of prostate cancer in dogs are straining to urinate, bloody urine, back pain, and/or straining to defecate. Diagnostic tests include a good physical examination (including a rectal exam), urinalysis, abdominal radiographs, abdominal ultrasound, and a biopsy or cytology to confirm the diagnosis.
Therapy for prostate cancer in dogs is different from treatment in men. As all of the prostate cancers in dogs are androgen-independent, anti-androgen (anti-testosterone) therapies do not work. In addition, the cancer in dogs is usually highly malignant. Surgical removal of the prostate gland in dogs is very difficult and is only effective when the tumor is detected at a very early stage. The typical therapy involves NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Recently, the Veterinary Cancer Center in Norwalk, Connecticut conducted research on the use of chemotherapy in dogs with prostate cancer and is gearing up to continue that research by evaluating the use of highly targeted radiation therapy--IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy)--for the treatment of this disease.
While the disease is as dangerous to dogs as it is to men, you can help the cause of promoting cancer awareness and funding research. To help, please visit the Movember website and donate to our Team. The money raised will help find an end to this all too common and devastating disease of men (and dogs).