What are the Main Different Types of Cancer:

Carcinoma – This refers to a malignant tumor that is derived from skin tissue, glandular tissue, or tissue that lines an organ (ex: intestines, urinary bladder).

Sarcoma – This refers to a malignant tumor that is derived from connective tissue, such as bone, cartilage, or fibrous connective tissue.

Round cell tumor – This refers to a cancer of blood cell origin. There are both benign and malignant round cell tumors. Examples include: mast cell tumor, lymphoma, leukemia, histiocytoma, and plasma cell tumor.

Cancer Vocabulary Phase 2: Tests that help with staging your dog and cat:

Diagnostic testing generally includes the gathering of baseline information about your dog’s or cat’s overall health status. Often it is recommended to get blood work done. The basic blood tests typically include a complete blood cell count (CBC) and chemistry profile.

CBC (complete blood cell count): This blood test is a reflection of the health of your pet’s bone marrow. It evaluates white blood cell counts, which can reflect inflammation or infection in the body, bone marrow damage, or blood cell cancers.

It evaluates red blood cell counts. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. A low red blood cell count is called anemia. There are many causes of anemia, such as bleeding, diseased bone marrow, destruction by an abnormal immune mediated process, or chronic disease.

It evaluates platelet counts, which are the cells that form blood clots. Low platelet counts can result in bruising or bleeding.

Chemistry: This test evaluates a blood sample to look at several liver enzymes, kidney values, electrolytes, and protein levels that help look for metabolic abnormalities and general organ function.

Many pets with cancer have normal CBC and chemistry findings. There is often not a blood test that can tell us if your dog or cat has cancer. Although this can be frustrating, it is generally considered good news when a dog or cat with cancer has normal blood tests.

Thoracic radiographs, sometimes referred to as “chest xrays,” are taken when a dog or cat has been diagnosed with a malignant tumor to make sure there is no evidence of cancer spreading to the lungs. Thoracic radiographs may also be taken in older dogs to make sure they have a healthy heart and lungs before undergoing extensive diagnostic procedures, anesthesia or therapies.

Abdominal ultrasound– This is a diagnostic test that is a non-invasive way of evaluating organs in the abdomen (liver, spleen, lymph nodes, pancreas, adrenal glands, intestines, urinary bladder, kidneys). Ideally, it should be done by a veterinary radiologist. This test can help find cancer, provide guidance for biopsy procedures, and look for evidence of metastasis in a dog or cat already diagnosed with cancer.

CT scan (sometimes called a “cat” scan)- This test is a more sensitive way than radiographs to look for cancer metastasis in the lungs. It can be helpful in evaluating a tumor prior to surgery or when planning for radiation therapy.

MRI scan– This test is used for evaluating a tumor prior to surgery and/ or radiation therapy. It is useful when looking for brain disease or spinal cord disease.