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The Economics Of Cancer Treatments

Gerald Post, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), The Veterinary Cancer Center

For all our readers this could help.

Are all cancer treatments expensive? The answer is–it depends. It depends on the type of cancer, the aggressiveness of therapy desired, and the size of the pet.

Some cancers require only minimal therapy, either because they are easily cured, or because minimal therapy is as good as more aggressive therapy. In some cases only aggressive therapy will help–BUT the vast majority of pets with cancer can be treated with a variety of treatment options. There are more options now than ever before. Options to consider include: a surgical plan, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or offering up a clinical trial.

The costs of surgical therapy vary quite a lot, often depending on the extent of the surgery and type of surgery performed. Radiation therapy can be very costly, but again there are various types of radiation therapy. The price is often dependent on the number or fractions of radiation used to treat a pet. The number could be as high as 18 or as low as one. In addition, the size of the pet affects the treatment size of each dose and hence the price point for the treatment. Chemotherapy, which in recent years has been the most expensive of the treatment options, now does not necessarily have to be the most costly. Sometimes the best therapy is the most aggressive and the most expensive, but not always. Pet owners need to realize that these treatments can increase both their pet’s quality and length of life. Of course, this is also true with larger pets yet; the cost tends to be a bit more expensive due to the size of the animal requiring more medication.

One of the best ways to decrease the cost of cancer therapy is to enroll in a clinical trial.These trials are fully funded and enable people who otherwise could not afford any treatment to at least give their pet some therapy. The Riedel and Cody Fund is an organization that raises money to financially assist people who otherwise could not treat their pet’s cancer. This organization has helped many animals all across the country and for those people who want to help others; you can donate to The Fund at


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