Canine Survives Brain Tumor Thanks to New Cancer Treatment: Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Cincinnati, OH – May 17, 2016 – Brain Tumor Awareness Month comes along every May, providing the opportunity to reflect on how the perilous form of cancer impacts both humans and pets. This May, it holds extra meaning for Nancy and Craig Waikem, a mother and son from Massillon, Ohio, who are no strangers to having a pet with cancer.
Despite having been through the devastation of a cancer diagnosis with two separate pets, today the Waikem’s are thankful. While their first experience ended in disaster, their most recent encounter with pet cancer has been just the opposite. Thanks to amazing advances in veterinary medicine and a new, game-changing cancer treatment called stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), their beloved dog is now a happy, healthy cancer survivor.
Now, the Waikems are determined to help other pet owners benefit from their experience by spreading the word about SRS. Already proven successful in human medicine, the advanced form of radiation therapy just recently became available for pets – changing the way veterinarians approach cancer care and providing newfound hope for the 12 million dogs and cats annually diagnosed with cancer. SRS offers significant benefits over conventional radiation therapy (RT) by:
- offering treatment with the intent to cure cancer rather than just ease symptoms
- enabling treatment of some tumors previously considered “inoperable” – including many brain tumors
- delivering radiation with sub-millimeter precision in a noninvasive, nonsurgical manner
- minimizing the risks and side effects commonly associated with conventional RT
- requiring only 1-3 treatment sessions as opposed to 15-21
The first time Nancy and Craig were introduced to canine cancer was three years ago. It was “the hardest thing in the world,” recalls Nancy. Between all of the steroids and side effects, the Waikems were left feeling sad and defeated.
By the time their current dog, Mark, was diagnosed with a brain tumor (meningioma) in January of 2016, however, the landscape had changed – turning their defeat into hope. The emergence of SRS provided a new treatment option for the acorn-sized tumor between Mark’s eyes and above his nose. Given their previous experience, the Waikem’s were reluctant to pursue conventional RT that would have required months of treatments, brain surgery that would have required the skull to be cracked open for access, or the palliative care and heavy steroids they dealt with the first time around.
In their minds, the choice was easy. Nancy brought Mark to PetCure Oncology at Care Center in Cincinnati, the only facility within a 400-mile radius that is capable of delivering SRS for pets. They were on their way back home just three days later after completing Mark’s entire treatment course with just a single fraction of SRS.
“I just had to do it for my kid,” said Nancy, emphasizing that the significant reduction in treatment sessions – and, therefore, anesthetic events – was an important factor. “We were amazed. Mark talks more. He’s more loving. There was nothing bad that came of this treatment. He lost no weight. I never had to change his diet. [PetCure Oncology] treats these animals just like humans. I couldn’t believe it. I just felt so comfortable and everything was great!”
In addition to getting their beloved pet back symptom-free, the Waikems received more good news in late April when Mark’s 3-month follow-up CT revealed a 30% decrease in the size of the tumor. The tumor is expected to keep shrinking as the radiation continues to work, and Nancy proudly reports “not a single bad reaction from radiation” for Mark.
PetCure Oncology underscores that brain tumors occur in both humans and pets. Seizures are the most common indication of brain tumors. Other symptoms may include unusual behavior or temperament, vision problems, movement in circles, uncoordinated movement, unsteady gait, lack of appetite, inappropriate urination, and/or lethargy.
About PetCure Oncology
In addition to its partnership with Care Center in Cincinnati, PetCure Oncology’s national network of veterinary cancer care centers specializing in SRS includes locations in Phoenix (AZ), Clifton (NJ) and Milwaukee (WI). Additional centers across the country are in various stages of development. Visit PetCureOncology.com for more information.
JoAnn Stewart, RVT, CVPM – COO, PetCure Oncology
(847) 275-8600 | jstewart@petcure_wp191cology.com