Health trust unveils animal cancer plans

SUFFOLK is to become a leading centre for animal cancer research when a new facility opens next year.

Cancer is the most common cause of death in dogs and the second most common cause in cats.

However, animal health experts claim that with right facilities, expertise and treatment it is the most curable chronic disease in these animals.

The Newmarket-based Animal Health Trust (AHT) has unveiled plans for a new centre where surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can be offered.

Sue Murphy, head of clinical cancer treatment at the AHT, said: “Having all three treatment options on one site means that whatever the diagnosis, we will be able to offer each and every patient the very best options for their specific case.

“With one in four dogs and one in six cats developing cancer at some time in their life, this new centre will help many more animals – from Suffolk, East Anglia and all across the UK.”

Those behind the project say it will also further research into cancer.

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Vets and scientists at the AHT already work collaboratively with cancer researchers looking at the disease in humans.

There are a number of links between human and animal cancers which have already been identified. It is hoped that knowledge gained from the AHT Cancer Centre may also help in the understanding of cancer in people.

The new building is expected to open in the summer of 2012.

The health trust has launched an appeal to raise much needed funds to equip the centre with a linear accelerator, which works by delivering high-energy radiation beams to break cancerous tumours down while sparing the surrounding normal tissue.

The AHT Cancer Centre will be one of only six veterinary facilities in the UK to house a linear accelerator.

Ms Murphy, said: “Currently, there is no way to tell which animals will, and which animals won’t, develop cancer. It could happen to any animal at any time.

“This new centre will give more animals a fighting chance of beating the disease, enabling them to lead long and healthy lives.

“The fact that treatments developed to benefit our pets may also lead to improvements in the prevention and treatment of cancer in humans makes this centre all the more important.”

Anybody wanting to support the AHT can make a donation to the AHT Cancer Centre by visiting or calling 01638 555648.

Ms Murphy said: “Your donation, however large or small, will help many more animals beat cancer.”