This is caused by the insufficient presence of PML molecules (and likely others) that in healthy cells are believed to regulate senescence (biological aging) and ultimately to enforce apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Many tumors are benign (eg moles, warts, lipomas), those that are malignant are called cancer (Melanoma, Hemangiosarcoma, etc). Malignant tumors differ from benign tumors in that they invade surrounding tissue or even metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body, and in both cases harm or destroy healthy cells.
Tumor is an acquired disorder of the immune system that is triggered by an acute shock or by chronic intoxication of the cells that are critical to destroy own cells that have gone awry (tumor cells).
The acute shock may have been caused by:
- any vaccination, because a vaccine consists of many alien substances that are injected directly into the bloodstream which shocks within seconds all body systems! Something that never happens in nature, not even when a deadly virus enters the organism through mouth or nose.
- radiation, because an overdose of radiation shocks within seconds all body systems! This is not the radiation say from an x-ray though, these are well below shock levels.
- a chemical substance (in medicaments, "food", household, or environment), because at the "right" amount some substances that reach the bloodstream do indeed shock the entire organism.
- a pathogen, because some pathogens can literally overrun the cardiovascular system's defence mechanisms if they manage to enter the bloodstream directly, say through a lesion.
The chronic intoxication may have been caused by:
- industrial dog food or "treats"
- a chemical substance (in medicaments, "food", household, or environment) if it is perpetually or frequently
- inhaled, say room "refreshers", varnish, or smoke
- ingested, say scavenging yard care products like Roundup, or licking off floor cleaner detergent or wood paint
- absorbed through the skin, say carpet adhesives or cleaning or laundry detergents.
Some physicians however rightfully raise the question whether cancer is a defect, referring to the "only about 5% to 10% of all cancers [that] are thought to result directly from gene defects inherited from a parent". If that thought is correct then indeed the particular cancer would be a defect because disorders can only be acquired.
Here's why we have to conclude that not even those "5% to 10%" are inherited cancers, but instead also acquired:
What has been found are
- a vast number of acquired DNA changes (variances) that are not heritable that many individuals share that have cancer. A great example is the TP53 gene abnormality that more than half of all human cancer cases share. No variance is shared by all, not even close!
- and a much smaller number of inherited DNA changes (mutations) in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes that "run in families", those "5% to 10%". Again, up to more than half of those family members may have had cancer. These are the cases that label as "Family Cancer Syndromes" and make some physicians conclude that a few cancers are heritable.
If you now read the notes that further explain defects, you see that none of what has been found warrants the claim "a few cancers are heritable".
Either way, as (most or indeed all) cancer is acquired, clearly cancer is a disorder because:
- A disorder is an acquired physiological dysfunction of an organ or body system that shows as over/under-production or over/under-utilization of a bodily substance...
- In the case of cancer there is an under-utilization (and maybe an under-production) of PML molecules (and likely others) that in healthy cells would prevent the uncontrolled tissue growth that describes cancer.
- Conversely, a defect is an inherited or acquired impairment of an organ, body structure, or body function other than a disorder.
All that aside, here are some interesting facts:
- Almost all cases of cancer (both in people and in dogs) show only later in life, and outside the biological transitions, after years if not decades of chronic intoxication that violates the Foundation of Health.
- The remaining few cases of cancer in newborns can be fully explained with having been acquired prenatal in the uterus or through the umbilical cord: Many disorders (and some defects and diseases too) are known to be transmitted to the unborn offspring if the mother is too sick (known or unknown) for the evolutionary protection mechanisms for offspring to fully take effect.
- Indeed in many cases it is known from medical records that before the baby was born the pregnant mother frequently violated the Foundation of Health: smoking, drinking, medicaments, and worse (this includes the massive nationwide Swedish Family-Cancer Database: 10 million records; studies refer to people, no such studies for dogs).
- In addition, note that most newborns (both babies and puppies) already are subjected to injections and vaccinations that amount to an acute shock to all body systems of the young organism.
- It is obvious (common sense!) that the majority of these newborns then move on to develop health issues from those shocks to all body systems: skin problems following integumentary system disorders, intestinal problems following digestive system disorders, allergies and even cancer following immune system disorders, etc.
- A "family history of cancer" too does not suggest an inherited defect (click the link to see why). In fact, none of the factors they list here "make it more likely" that the cancer is inherited, all are easily explained with what you learned here and here.
So really, we have every reason to consider cancer an acquired disorder, and no reason to accept the widely copied point of view that "genetics play an important role in the development of canine cancer", they clearly don't.
Accordingly I wouldn't hesitate for a second to adopt a dog from a handler raising her arms in despair: "Unfortunately every dog in this lineage has had cancer!". But I would not even consider releasing her from her responsibility where for example she brags: "The dog is fully vaccinated".
How very different from the average owner who hasn't read this Health Manual, isn't it?
Make sure you share this widely, so as to reduce cancer risk.
Who Suffers Tumor/ Cancer
Like people, dogs are susceptible to a large variety of benign and malignant tumors in their skin, bones and organs. Because, like people (maybe more than people?) they are subjected to sustained cell intoxication with carcinogens in household products, yard products, medicaments, vaccines, food, etc.
It would be naive to assume one can persistently do harm to the organism's cells without health consequences, right? This aspect of health care is far underrated in media and medicine, that's why so few people care what they add to the organism on a daily basis.
Other than this generally applicable cause of sickness, purebred dogs with long lines of inbreeding (like what is happening to German Shepherds) are more likely to develop tumors because inbreeding reduces genetic variation and thus immunological responsiveness.
Where an unharmed immune system is able to identify and eliminate most nuances of cells that have gone awry, a weakened immune system will not be able to catch each of those. That's when those cells can uncontrollably proliferate to become a tumor.
This is why all over the world inbreeding among closely related people (incest) is punishable by law. Unfortunately this is not the case for dogs.
Finally, UNaltered dogs too are far more likely to develop cancer than those that have been safely spayed or neutered at a young age (6 months of age the latest).
Contrary to popular belief, the reason likely is more behavior-related than related to the impact that altering has on the endocrine system:
- Altered dogs do not "roam around", and so they have much less of a chance to get in contact with carcinogenic agents, whether pathogens transmitted by sick animals or their residues (excrement, dander, hair, saliva, etc) or whether chemical substances in the environment (landfill, garbage dump, pesticides, etc).
- Owners that alter their dog early or that acquire an altered dog tend to be more informed, considerate, and responsible in life in general, for example:
- regular health checks by a quality vet
- critical evaluation of the long-term benefit and risks of prescriptions and treatments
- avoiding environmental intoxication with chemicals etc
- feeding a REAL food natural diet
- administering remedies to safeguard the dog from worms, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, mites, etc
- avoiding unnecessary vaccinations and all "boosters".
Obviously, points 1 and 2 do not apply to each individual dog and owner, yet overall ie statistically these two points have the most significant ramifications for the likelihood of an individual dog to develop cancer.
The subsequent warning signs cover all types of cancer, but be aware that different types of cancer tend to have their characteristic symptoms. Overall, the most common cancer symptoms are:
- skin spots with unusual coloring, either suddenly appearing and persisting or continually growing
- sores or lesions that do not heal
- sudden weight loss without obvious reason
- loss of appetite without obvious reason
- unusual and unexplained bleeding
- unusual swelling anywhere on the body *
- repeatedly blood in vomit or urine or stool *
- unusual discharge from any body opening, incl. ears, eyes, nose *
- offensive odor from mouth or skin *
- difficulty when eating or swallowing *
- persistent hesitation to exercise (lethargy) or loss of stamina *
- persistent lameness or stiffness *
- difficulty breathing *
- difficulty urinating or defecating *
- pain when breathing or urinating or defecating *
- unexplained recurrent vomiting *
- unexplained recurrent diarrhea *
* These are specifically the symptoms of the types of cancer most common in German Shepherds.
These most common types of cancer in German Shepherds are:
- gastrointestinal tumors: foremost in the stomach, colon, pancreas, and esophagus
- osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma: cancer of bones or cartilage
- lymphosarcoma or lymphoma: cancer of the immune system itself (lymphocytes)
- mast cell tumors: mast cells too are integral to the immune system, they fight pathogens primarily in the skin, intestines, and respiratory tract.
As you may have noticed, even just the symptoms of the most common types of cancer in German Shepherds can likewise characterize many other ailments. Therefore do not outright conclude "it's cancer!" when you notice some of these symptoms.
On the other hand, some of these symptoms will naturally come together, one after another. Therefore do see a quality veterinarian when you notice several symptoms in parallel or in sequence that will typically show in parallel or in sequence when a tumor is present.
An example will make this clearer:
Say for the second time within a week you notice there is blood in your dog's vomit (thus not necessarily consecutively). While you're wondering "How comes that?", you remember that recently you found your dog has been very lethargic, possibly even lame or stiff.
So now you start to analyze in your mind:
- "very lethargic and again vomiting blood"
- "it isn't hot summer now, and the dog is not eating any different than usual, nor is the dog exercising more than usual"
- "Could the dog have intestinal worms?"
- "Unlikely, (s)he's had deworming done last month"
- "A virus maybe?"
- "Unlikely, the dog is seven years old, had plenty of chances to acquire natural immunity, suffered no serious illness, and had no antibiotics nor steroids treatment"
- "It can't be cancer, can it?!?"
- "Wait, what's the dog getting to eat?"
- "Kibble. - Damn! So I really should have given the dog real food!"
- "I now better make an appointment with a quality vet for a complete blood test."
Remember this is just an example. Symptoms, dog's lifestyle and dog's living environment, as well as medical, exercise, and diet history of the dog, and how much common sense training you have acquired from mygermanshepherd.org or elsewhere, all factors play a role.
In short, only several symptoms together and the absence of certain other symptoms suggest a tumor (and indeed any other ailment). A quality veterinarian, ideally in an animal hospital, will then confirm the preliminary diagnosis, and whether the tumor is benign or malignant.
Yet, ending my example with the conclusion to do a complete blood test was on purpose. Because, the most reliable ways to confirm a cancer diagnosis are:
- Lab tests: identifying the existence and measuring the level of characteristic substances in body fluids like blood, urine, or saliva that together indicate tumorous cells anywhere in the body - cheapest, and always feasible.
- Biopsy: analyzing a tissue sample (taken per needle, endoscope, or surgery) in the lab - costly, and not always feasible.
- Imaging procedures: visually confirming unusual tissue growth per Ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, Radionuclide scan, PET scan, or X-ray - costly, and not always feasible.
Firstly and most importantly, do not fall for the fate fallacy. Cancer is no fate. Cancer is preventable because it is an acquired disorder. And cancer is curable if you don't wait too long to incorporate the right lifestyle choices, because this is what matters most!
It really is like this, and I can't stress it enough:
Where a newborn has cancer (which is very rare), the cancer was passed on from the mother while in utero. When you pass on cancerous cells or cancer-triggering molecules, then obviously the recipient will suffer cancer too if the immune system isn't ready to fight the cancerous substance, as is the case with newborns.
In fact, the only reason why so many pregnant mothers that persistently violate the Foundation of Health yet conceive (seemingly) healthy babies is that biologically the whole process of pregnancy and conceiving is so protective of the newborn that it is unusual for a disorder or defect or disease to be transmitted by the mother. Usually some complication caused that.
Had evolution not provided for this fundamental protection of offspring, neither people nor dogs would ever have emerged! Historically, offspring would have succumbed to diseases, today offspring would succumb to disorders.
Evolution has yielded a similar quality of protection for puppies. In fact, newborn puppies with cancer are unheard of. One of the reasons is that canine mothers don't smoke and don't drink alcohol.
Having read the above you should have two objections:
- "Why is it then that a few cases of pediatric cancer exist, ie cancer in dogs younger than 12 months?"
- "Why is it then that certain breeds of dogs, incl. German Shepherds, have a higher incidence of cancer?"
As for 1) The short answer is that unfortunately puppies as young as a few weeks are being subjected to multivalent vaccination cocktails, even six-packs DHLPPCv! And this repetitively up to four times before they even reach 12 months of age! As is the "standard" vaccination protocol in many nations.
These vaccination cocktails and "boosters" cause an instant disruption of the immune system and are known to harm the puppy lifelong. Indeed, the fourth Interview & Review in our series, a top immunologist, can open your eyes and mind in ways nothing else can.
It is not surprising then that any pediatric cancer almost always originates near the injection site, ie where the young puppy's immune system was shocked, got confused, and lost its ability to identify and fight awry cells.
The long answer would discuss more cancer-causing factors: starting with the toxic dog "food" already the youngest puppies have to try to survive on, and ending with veterinary steroid and NSAID administration, even while sick.
In fact, it is surprising how well dogs cope with what we do to them. If thanks to evolution dogs weren't that resilient, every ordinarily raised puppy likely would develop cancer before 12 months old.
As for 2) The fact that German Shepherds and some other breeds have a higher incidence of cancer does not make cancer an inherited gene defect.
The reason for the higher susceptibility of GSDs and other breeds to cancer is their overall weaker immune system, the prime cause of which is the excessive inbreeding.
Not surprisingly, this overall weaker immune system also shows in a higher susceptibility to Allergies (another immune system disorder) and Arthritis (another immune system disorder). All very common in German Shepherds indeed.
But it's great if you remain critical first, because this is how we people learn best: scrutinizing.
Back to preventing tumors in dogs. Since a tumor signals an immune system disorder, obviously again the key is to protect and to strengthen the immune system.
How to protect the immune system
We can protect the dog's immune system by:
- NOT vaccinating the dog unless a prior titer shows no reaction at all to the antigen in question.
- NOT vaccinating a puppy unless a prior titer shows that the passive immunity from maternal antibodies has now worn off, and so the vaccine can be effective, while before it cannot!
- NOT allowing multivalent vaccines to be given where single vaccines are available, ie the common vaccine combinations all the way through to DHLPPCv are a strict no-no!
- NOT accepting a "booster" vaccination unless a prior titer shows no reaction at all to the antigen in question.
- NOT vaccinating a dog that is sick or has been sick in any way in the last three months.
- NOT vaccinating a dog against diseases that are highly unlikely to be contracted in the particular dog's living environment and given the dog's lifestyle.
- NOT vaccinating a dog against diseases that are neither life-threatening nor a permanent material impairment of quality of life.
- NOT vaccinating a dog where the dog's lifestyle and living environment provides for the much better natural immunization because it is complete and general: it trains the entire defense system.
- NOT exposing the dog to environmental intoxication in the house or yard (floor cleaners, adhesives, wood stains, pesticides etc).
- NOT exposing the dog to cell toxins in industrial dog "food".
- NOT ever accepting corticosteroids or other steroids or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
- NOT allowing antibiotics treatment unless:
- A culture has been grown in the lab and it confirmed that the pathogen in question indeed is a bacterium.
- AND the bacterium is known to not yet be resistant against the suggested antibiotic.
- AND the disease caused or triggered by the bacterium is life-threatening or a permanent material impairment of quality of life.
- AND a less harmful natural treatment option is unknown - because contrary to the marketing of allopathic medicine antibiotics always are harmful!
How to strengthen the immune system
We can strengthen the dog's immune system by:
- Feeding a healthy variety of natural foods only.
- Allowing the entire immune system to practice, to train, to gain more experience through natural immunization wherever sensible. The sensibility check is the long list just above.
- Avoiding stress from the Pack conflict as perceived by the dog, and from fear.
That's it. A few simple points to consider and to practice that prevent tumors!
Don't believe it? Try it before you deny it. You have nothing to lose, and all to gain. Try it with your next dog if for your current dog these insights reached you too late.
Think about it: Evolution did not prepare people nor dogs to die of own cells that have gone awry (that's what cancer is). Quite the opposite: Both dogs and people only exist today because evolution prepared us with a huge arsenal of effective immune system barriers that even catch out own cells that have gone bad! Truly remarkable.
We will get back to this when we discuss the newest option for cancer treatment.
The problem is, many tumors we cannot notice until after they have grown dangerously large, or worse, have metastasized (proliferated to other parts of the body). Hence why for tumors probably more than for any other ailment prevention is key: See the above lists how to protect and how to strengthen the immune system.
Another important means to prevent tumors relates to the German Shepherd being an outdoor dog (or at least meant to be an outdoor dog).
Outdoor dogs catch much sun. While wild dogs would naturally seek shade at times of the strongest sun exposure, unfortunately the modern domesticated dogs may not always find a shady spot, not even a cool spot, on the owner's premises.
If your dog is outdoors around noon and has limited chances to seek shade, please make sure to provide some shade, plenty of water, and sun protection to your dog. Using a viscous baby lotion like this indeed is fine: fewest chemicals, comes close to being natural, and protection factor 50.
The sun protection need only be applied to thinly haired areas, thus normally only on the nose and the ear pinna. But make sure that you use a viscous lotion so that nothing can run down the pinna into the ear canal, or in the nose!
These cheaper baby sun-blockers are available as sprays too, for example Babyganics' mineral-based sun protection spray. Again, just be sure not to spray inside the nose or inside the ear.
If your dog is a lot outdoors in the sun, a UV Protective Shirt can provide great protection against melanoma, mast cell tumor, squamous cell carcinoma, and other types of skin cancer. We don't have it, but if you are interested the right size for Miguel as tall but athletic adult GSD would be what they call 3XL (they offer up to 5XL).
Also, be aware that plastic bowls for food or drink and likewise plastic toys can be sources of carcinogens ie cancer-causing agents. To be safe, it may be simplest to try to avoid all kitchen plastics (I do).
The most dangerous kitchen plastic obviously is a kettle made of plastic inside where the water boils, as well as plastic bakeware. Heating up any plastic in contact with any food is so insane it should be punishable by law.
Finally, even city water in many communities has been found to contain carcinogenic chemicals. In this case we can minimize risks by using a water filter.
For adult dogs a yearly veterinary exam should be the absolute minimum, because dogs experience more years in our time. For a puppy three visits in the first year of life, and for aging dogs twice yearly.
But be sure you save the money that you would normally spend on the crap that allopathic vets sell off their shelves, and save the money that you would normally spend on prescribed medicaments and other blanket treatments.
Instead, use a fraction of that to pay for veterinary exams, not visits and prescriptions, or even worse, vaccines. More precisely, at each of the above advised vet visits, discuss what is sensible to do at that time, and order the respective exam. I say order because you must indeed order the vet to get out of his daily office routine and do this instead, yes:
- Urine analysis (urinalysis)
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Blood protein testing by electrophoresis
- Antigen titer
- Biopsy of suspicious tissue (with needle, endoscope, or surgery)
- Circulating tumor cell test
- Imaging test (Radiology): CT scan, MRI, X-ray, Radionuclide scan, Ultrasound, Virtual endoscopy, Capsule endoscopy, etc.
For us, cancer is unlikely because we have always been feeding REAL food, no industrial waste products (pet "food", "treats"). So typically I order a complete blood count (CBC) or urinalysis, because both of these exams allow to detect a lot more than a tumor.
Revelations of Complete Blood Count and Urinalysis
- how well various organs work
- how well various organs work together
- deficiencies of certain proteins and hormones
- how well the overall defense system works
- urinary tract infection
- kidney infection
- other infections
- kidney stones
- blood pressure
- leukemia, etc.
And every three years, when the legally required Rabies vaccination is on the agenda (which will change to every seven years, because it protects for life anyway!) I have an antigen titer done for Parvo and Distemper (only).
Urinalysis is cheap. Complete blood count costs a bit more. But both these exams cost only a fraction of what the average ordinary vet's ongoing treatment costs. You see, prevention is key.
When prevention came too late, hopefully treatment does not, because look at the total cost of delayed treatment:
- The later treatment starts, the harsher the intervention required, eg larger area to be surgically removed, and/or higher doses of cytostatics in chemotherapy, and/or higher dose of radiation or whatever.
- The later treatment starts, the more severe the "side effects" will be.
- The later treatment starts, the longer it will take.
- The later treatment starts, the more frequent the treatment may have to be administered.
- The later treatment starts, the more costly it will be.
- The later treatment starts, the smaller the chances of survival!
Each type of tumor is different in symptoms, growth rate, and prognosis. 60% of tumors found by routine screening are benign and can be cut out or lasered without additional treatment. And most malignant tumors are curable if identified early, but do require additional treatment.
Cutting away all or at least part of the identified cancerous cell cluster, including a safe margin around it.
Minimally invasive surgery
Using a laparoscope to remove all or at least part of the identified cancerous cell cluster, including a safe margin around it.
Using liquid nitrogen or argon gas to produce localized extreme cold to kill identified cancer cells.
Using high-energy radio waves or other means to produce localized extreme heat to kill identified cancer cells or to make them more sensitive to radiation or chemotherapy drugs.
Using powerful beams of light to kill identified cancer cells.
Using drugs that react to a certain type of light in order to kill identified cancer cells when they are targeted with this type of light source.
Using high doses of radiation to kill or weaken identified cancer cells.
Using drugs to stop or slow down growth of fast-dividing cells, thus unfortunately including blood-producing cells, hair cells, and the cells of the mucous membranes in mouth and throat as well as the digestive system!
Using pills or injections or even surgery to permanently stop or temporarily block the body's ability to produce the specific hormones that the identified type of cancer needs to grow, or to interfere with how these specific hormones perform in the body.
Using the right homeopathic remedy to stimulate the immune system to better fight the cancer cells. Be aware though that, since homeopathic remedies are cheap to make, very very few veterinarians bother to study homeopathy (after all they want to make a good living).Therefore, unfortunately there is little chance that you find a quality homeopath who has put as much effort into studying the less-than-lucrative homeopathy as a quality ordinary vet puts effort into studying the hugely lucrative allopathic medicine.
Stem cell transplant
Injecting your dog's earlier taken (autologous) stem cells or a matching dog's (allogeneic) stem cells through a needle in the vein, either to replace own stem cells destroyed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy, or to use the graft-versus-tumor effect to refresh the immune system to fight cancer cells.
Molecularly targeted therapy or Precision medicine
Using drugs or individual chemicals to block the action of certain molecules (enzymes, proteins, etc) that the identified cancer cells need to grow and proliferate.
This newest option for tumor treatment is a giant leap from the graft-versus-tumor effect mentioned under Stem cell transplant. It is the most promising cancer treatment in history, and that means something because cancer treatment has a long history.
Immunotherapy is the name for all types of treatment that use an agent to stimulate the body's own immune system to better fight identified cancer cells. Many types of Immunotherapy have been developed in just the last decade, and are now being refined, tested, and performed.
The agent may be a drug, an individual chemical, a certain type of healthy body cells, molecules like a protein, or even tumor cells or a weakened bacterium or other pathogen (so yes there is a lot of similarity with the principles of homeopathy).
The agent is then modified or manipulated in a way that improves the immune system's ability to detect and mark or directly destroy the identified cancer cells.
Just one type of Immunotherapy that may serve as great example here because it has already been shown to be successful, and that for the cure of a cancer type that traditionally was seen to be incurable (leukemia), is what's called CAR-T cell therapy (linked is an article that came up first in Google).
Let's just hope economies of scale will bring prices down soon.
Immunotherapy that uses an agent made from living organisms goes by the name Biological therapy. Thus this is a subset of Immunotherapy.
In the case of cancer diagnosis, given how urgent the right treatment is to have the best chance for cure, I would strongly suggest you get a second and even third opinion before commencing (and paying for) any type of treatment. Different types of cancer may require different types of treatment.
While most ordinary allopathic physicians still prescribe open surgery together with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy for almost any type of cancer(!), you have seen above that today there exist many more options - and most times better ones.
You see, nothing beats education when you or your dog are sick. So I know this helps, should you ever need it.