Cancer Cause


My friend's Border Collie was just diagnosed with cancer. She's been wracking her brain trying to figure out how the dog could have possibly gotten cancer. She has never been exposed to anything outside the house because she was allergic to shots (either rabies or distemper -- can't remember which). It finally dawned on my friend that her dog was a "licker" -- not herself but other dogs. She would spend hours licking the other two dogs in the household, despite my friend's attempts to stop her. She believes that the flea sprays that she's used on her dogs over the years may have been the cause of the cancer. Needless to say, she's going thru a case of the guilts right now. What do you think?


Don't let your friend beat herself up over this. There is absolutely no reason to believe that by allowing her dog to lick other dogs, she somehow increased the chances of it getting cancer. In fact, I'd say the odds are phenomenally low (akin to winning the lottery). There is no reason to believe that the cancer was environmentally "induced" in the first place. We have no idea what causes cancer, though we have vague knowledge of what sorts of thing increase its likelihood. Cancer certainly has some sort of genetic component to it (e.g. human breast cancer tends to run in families), also probably has a developmental component to it, and also has an environmental factor. How much of a role each one plays in any particular incidence of cancer is anyone's guess.

A dog locked in an airtight box with sterile food and purified air can still develop cancer. And heck, even if you believe that the cancer was environmentally induced, there are countless other sources of risks, including such things as the dog's food, water, air it breathed, fumes from cleaning fluids, chemicals in the collar, ummm.... just about anything you can think of. None of them certain, all of them improbable. To pinpoint the cause - unless the dog worked in a nuclear reactor - is literally impossible. Tell your friend there is no reason to feel guilty, especially if the dog was treated well in its life.

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